The story appears on

Page A3

January 3, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sunday » Art

Beautiful Swiss books on view

AN exhibition of award-winning Swiss book designs and posters is happening at The Mix Place on Hengshan Road through January 8. Specifically, the show features some 40 recent winners of The Most Beautiful Swiss Books and The Most Beautiful Books from All Over the World competitions.

According to Lu Jingren, a respected Chinese artist and book designer who also wrote a preface to the show, the exhibition reflects the enduring beauty and influence of modern Swiss design, beginning with the start of the New Typography Movement in Zurich back 1916. Inspired by this movement, designers in subsequent decades sought to enrich the “visual vocabulary” of their graphic designs, which in turn gave rise to the highly respected contemporary Swiss Style school, Lu added.

“Swiss Style is highlighted by its use of grids in mathematical structures, sanserif typography and asymmetry layouts,” he explained to Shanghai Daily after delivering a speech on book design.

Among the defining hallmarks of this style is the Helvicta typeface, one of the most widely used typefaces of the 20th century.

Lu named “Worte nicht in giftige Buchstaben einwickeln,” published by Switzerland’s Scheidegger & Spiess, as one of the books at the show that impressed him the most. A biography of Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim, the book contains a number of correspondences between the artist and her friends, some of which were published for the first time.

With a bold yet simple portrait of Oppenheim on the cover, the book is interspersed with texts and photographs of the artist’s letters. Many of the original letters feature doodles and sketches by the artist, while printed reproductions of the texts are presented in a variety of styles, sizes and fonts.

“The typographies perfectly accord with each correspondence. The structure is simple, yet the detail of the design is impressive,” Lu explained. “It introduces a sense of time and space. Readers can feel the passage of time.”

The book was awarded the Golden Letter, the highest award at The Most Beautiful Books from All Over the World competition, in Leipzig in 2014.

Another stand-out for Lu is “New New Testament,” a monumental work packed with more than 1,000 paintings by New York-based artist Paul Chan. On the book’s right-hand pages are paintings from Chan made using old book covers. These images are accompanied on each left-hand page by cryptic combinations of symbols and words. Co-published by Swiss imprint Schaulager, the book is bound in leather and could easily be mistaken for a Bible.

“The book becomes an experiment in the significance of words by introducing modern digital signs into the text. The contrast between text and image presents a poetic sense of beauty,” Lu said.

“New New Testament” is one of 17 titles named among The Most Beautiful Swiss Books in 2014. First initiated by the Swiss Publishers Association in 2014 and then taken over by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, The Most Beautiful Swiss Books is an annual competition that honors achievements in book design, layout and typography.

The exhibition at The Mix Place is organized by Business of Culture in partnership with Pro Helvetia Shanghai and Fangsuo Commune.

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books & Swiss Posters

Date: Through January 8, 10am-7pm

Address: 2/3F, Red Couture, 3/F, My Black Attitude, The Mix Place, 890 Hengshan Rd


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend