Thursday, 29 July 2010

Collective Atlas - Suzhous

The first of a number of submissions from students at Leeds College of Art (this one is anonymous as no name or contact details were written on the work - please leave a comment if this is your work!) on the city of Suzhou in China. The book is constructed using a very fine and delicate paper, folded in half in landscape format and then in a narrow concertina, to form a small narrow piece. On the front we see part of a stamp, in red, of chinese symbols, which in fact are in reverse having bled through from the other side of the paper. When the concertina is then stretched open a photo image appears showing traditional chinese buildings along waterways. When we open the page up we discover why, with interesting hand written facts about the city, which is often described as the "Venice of the East". There are two further images and some red pen that clearly bleeds through from the other side from hand written chinese symbols - no translation given. 
Though simple in structure, the book takes us on a physical exploration - opening and turning the piece over and over as we read the text one way then the other, and find on which side the marks originate. The paper is so light, yet almost like fabric with the soft airy fibres and the striking colour red, in conjunction with the images, immediately instill in the viewer ideas of China and the East. This really could be a pocket size guide of Suzhou's best places. However, it is also much more than that - the delicacy of the piece makes it something to be treasured.

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