Bronze MedalJapan

Megumi KAJIWARA, Tatsuhiko NIIJIMA
Motion Silhouette
Megumi KAJIWARA, Tatsuhiko NIIJIMA

Design: Megumi KAJIWARA, Tatsuhiko NIIJIMA
Print: Tatsuhiko NIIJIMA

The depiction of the double-page scenes in this children’s book is actually incomplete; the observer has to steer the action himself, and then something is actually set in motion – not only by turning the pages.

It is best experienced in the dark. On each double page, carton silhouettes are stitched in. With a small torch or the light from the mobile phone, the spectator becomes the director of the shadow that he commands to dance on the well calculated paper white. Suddenly, birds land on branches, a butterfly flees from the spider to the roses, the dandelion seeds are scattered, a ghost reaches for the child, a locomotive steams to the moon.

Scuff and skid mark structures modulate the shadow play into solid space. They are charmingly reproduced; two shades of black without screening take on a velvety flair on the matte, yellowish carton, and the spine cover made from fluffy material also has a velvety feel.

If is fascinating to fire one’s own imagination by such non-electronic means, almost as in the bygone days of the zoetrope – and all this in the age of hyper-flickering images.

Bronze MedalGermany

Christof Nüssli, Christoph Oeschger
Miklós Klaus Rózsa
Spector Books / cpress, Leipzig

Design: Christof Nüssli, Christoph Oeschger
Print: DZA Druckerei zu Altenburg GmbH, Altenburg
ISBN: 978-3-944669-42-7

624 DIN A 4 pages. Better have a quick flip through. A little bomb here, a dust cloud there, lots of police helmets and even more facsimiled typewritten pages. Everything in fitting black and white, thank you, it all makes sense: coming to terms with the past, stress with the state. Germany 1968? East Germany, Stasi? Hang on: metropolitan police Zurich, cantonal police Zurich, federal police? Stress in Switzerland! Staged as a source edition, the material compiled by the Swiss state between 1971 and 1989 about the photographer and political activist Miklós Klaus Rózsa, as well as the photographic oeuvre of Rózsa himself, has been converted into a work of art of contemporary history in this publication.

One of the fascinating photographs: entangled barbed wire in the night, illuminated by flashlights. How pleasant it might have been for the men in uniform to placate the civic unrest is anyone’s guess. The grave, sublime means of book design: all documents from state surveillance and contemporary reporting are given a chalky white fond; all photographs of Rózsa and the paratext are reproduced in black on white paper. This almost imperceptible but crucial contrast also involves the third observer, the reader, in the surveillance carousel.

»Unstable elements«: probably the motto of both the federal police and the book designers. The forces at work were undoubtedly freaks.

Bronze MedalSwitzerland

Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel; Badlands Unlimited, New York
Paul Chan. New New Testament
Laurenz Foundation, Schaulager, Basel

Design: Kloepfer-Ramsey Studio, Brooklyn
Print: Schwabe AG Druckerei, Muttenz
ISBN: 978-3-95239-715-2

Proportions of the book body: comparable to a lectionary.

Illustrations on the right-hand book pages: the artist has freed the book jackets from their contents. He uses the opened covers as upright canvases. On these canvases, he paints blunt rectangles, spread out, bluish grey, light to dark, sometimes with a mountain motif – like label tags without titles. Every new picture is meticulously numbered, verse-like, compulsive. The original lines on the spine remain mostly legible.

Text on the left-hand pages: each of the numbers is added by a text – coded in concrete poetry with extended punctuation and syntax, as if directed by a higher force.

Back in the baroque age, this principle of apparently knotted semiotics already fired up pensive minds to unravel the meaning of the world in emblematic books. The seriousness of such undertakings is, of course, only guaranteed, if everything is arranged with extreme care and stringency, which means that everything must be above board: perfect proportions, classic typesetting in Garamond, precise print.

An exegetic attempt: the material side of the testament is its existence as a book. The semantic side is that it is hidden through a code. The art in the book turns the book into art becomes art through the book which produces the art.

Bronze MedalBelgium

Valérian Goalec, Béatrice Lortet
Éléments Structure 01
Théophile’s Papers

Design: Alexis Jacob, Valérian Goalec
Print: Nicolas Storck (Autobahn)

»The document creates the work, and the work creates the document.« This sentence, taken from the catalogue, indicates the interlocked referentiality or artistic concepts, where, for example, a printed catalogue is not just an accessory, but an essential ingredient. And this appears to be the case here, too.

The elementary form is the subject of the photographic series of ventilation grids; the design of the catalogue is equally elementary. So elementary that the voluminous book paper, the bare necessity of the coarse screen, the monochrome under-dyed and torn-off print are hard to beat.

An unmistakeable sign of this strategy is the stylistic quotation of “Elementary Typography”, which nevertheless utilizes Grotesk as an accent in its restriction to two fonts.

This has to suffice.

Bronze MedalThe Netherlands

Bruno van den Elshout
New Horizons
The Eriskay Connection, Breda

Design: Rob van Hoesel
Print: Lenoirschuring, Amstelveen
ISBN: 978-94-92051-04-2

From the robust slipcase, the reader pulls a sturdy banderole. And from the banderole he pulls, well, a book or rather a book block. No cover, no dustjacket, no thread or adhesive binding, the spine just delicately fluted by the folded edges of the sheets.

The block does not really feel like a book. It can be opened without any resistance, but it is as stiff as a massive piece of planed wood. Apart from its smooth pages, the straightforward cube has nothing book-like about it. There is just this shape; the whole object has a minimalist appearance.

The exterior contrasts strongly with the fluid theme of the pictures: water, sea, sky, light, clouds. 300 photos on 212 pages show the horizon of the sea. The whole thing is a selection from 8785 pictures that were taken from the same spot every hour for a year.

Floating between sky and water. A book without words.