SINGAPORE – Photography enthusiasts should find plenty to savour in this exhibition of more than 90 photobooks by artists from around the world.
The books, available for browsing in a classroom of the former Singapore Chinese Girls’ School in Emerald Hill, are on display as part of the Singapore International Photography Festival (SIPF).
Among them are 30 finalists for the SIPF Photobook Award 2022, 50 books from the Kassel Dummy Award 2022 and a dozen titles that were in the running for the Hong Kong Photobook Dummy Award 2021.
Some 30 finalists, out of 136 submissions, were selected for the SIPF Photobook Award, now in its third edition.
Turkish artist Cemre Yesil Gonenli’s Hayal & Hakikat: A Handbook Of Forgiveness & A Handbook Of Punishment has since won the Best Published Book title. The photos in the book show the hands of prisoners from early 20th-century Turkey, and were drawn from the albums of Abdul Hamid II, one of the last sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
Meanwhile, Japanese artist Kenji Chiga won the Best Dummy Book title for Hijack Geni, which takes inspiration from the notorious “It’s me” telephone scam in Japan in which fraudsters call seniors and pretend to be a relative who needs money. The book, a mock-up, will eventually be co-published by Seoul-based Iannbooks and the Singapore independent arts space, Deck.
During the shooting period for this project, the artist behaved like a member of a scam group, visiting potential hideouts, such as offices and hotels, and making phone calls.
Posing as perpetrator and victim, he created fictional portraits of 90 young and elderly people based off his own face. He also created images on water-soluble paper which was then melted away, in a nod to the faceless criminals and their efforts to destroy evidence.
Another highlight of the SIPF Photobooks Showcase is Yoshikatsu Fujii’s Hiroshima Graph – Everlasting Flow. With a cover lined with abrasive paper, the book invites the reader to run their gaze – and fingers – over the rough edges of the memories that the artist’s grandmother has as a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
The judges for the SIPF Photobook Award were Ang Song Nian, founder of TheBookShow, a Singapore-based platform for photobooks and art; Renee Ting, director of the Singapore Art Book Fair; artist and curator Ruben Lundgren; Jeong Eun Kim, founder of new media publishing platform The Reference Seoul; Yumi Goto, co-founder of Tokyo gallery Reminders Photography Stronghold; and Daniel Boetker-Smith, founder of the Asia-Pacific Photobook Archive.
The biennial photography festival runs in various locations till Oct 30. It is organised by Deck, an independent arts space for photography.
Book It/ SIPF photobooks showcase
Where: 37 Emerald Hill
When: Till Oct 30, Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 7pm. Closed on Mondays.
Admission: A $20 ticket will get you into the exhibitions at 37 Emerald Hill