Zhu Ying Chun & Huang Fu Shanshan
Design: Zhu Ying Chun & Huang Fu Shanshan
Printer: Shanghai Artron Art Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Guangxi Normal University Press
This work is a forerunner in the field of morphology. It displays all elements of an academic approach: “Half acre of land, five years of time, inviting one hundred species of bugs, collecting a thousand kinds of traces, finally, we have a book.” Morphology is the method, in a dual sense. Firstly biologically: manifold traces of insects, spiders and worms are made visible perhaps for the first time in plausible image processing; they develop huge calligraphical qualities seemingly by themselves. On the other hand linguistically: the aesthetic suggestion of the image results is so powerful that the traces—such as masterful ink drawings, like rubbings from prehistoric rock carvings, like klecksography lost in thought—are recognised as a mysterious, unfamiliar literary language.
Images become text, the ciphers turn into a literal script. As a consequence of the maximum mergence of phenomena and observation, the didactic typography draws on the newly discovered, natural, unique fonts. The so-called imaging processes make a key contribution to understanding in natural sciences. Images with a realistic appearance, which tend to suggest depictive objectivity, are construed from measured values. They hide the fact that these are basically processes that lend meaning. It is precisely this inconsistency that is ingeniously exposed by this search for traces.
At the end, this artistic study succeeds in nothing less than the realisation of a philosophical metaphor: the world as a book that writes itself.
Silver MedalThe Netherlands
Peter Dekens (un)expected
Design: Rob van Hoesel
Printer: Wilco Art Books, Amersfoort
Publisher: The Eriskay Connection, Amsterdam
Black/white photos devoid of people: two-storey brick houses in rows. Blinds rolled down. Garden hedges head-high. Overcast afternoons in the autumn. Evening illumination. Leafing back and forth repeatedly through magazine-sized, text-free, truncated double pages with pictures; the motifs seem like silent headlines. You wait for something to happen, but instead you feel left alone in an accurate and introverted environment. It becomes more distinct five times, however: more lively—you are tempted to say.
Five smaller inner booklets are embedded in the large black/white book. A series of coloured pages each begins with a title page: a black surface, white forenames in a large font. You open it up and the repetition of the title differs in one respect: a missing name is marked with a suspension point—a full stop? The author and photographer of this sad, courageous project seeks public dialogue on the high suicide rates in West Flanders—not using an abstract study, but by looking at five true stories about families and relationships. The observer experiences this publication as a filmic reportage. In very concrete images, it manages to formulate the sorrow, remembrance and puzzlement that occupy the minds of the deceased’s traumatised relatives.
Free of pathos, this sensitive examination confronts us with a taboo. It inspires us to be attentive and stay awake when language falls silent and lonely eyes lower apprehensively.