7 things to do at the 2019 Art Book Fair Beijing

Publishers, institutions and artists gather at the upcoming art book fair in Beijing

Photo: Little Mountain Press/abC
Art Book Fair Beijing returns for yet another year. Art book fairs have seemingly become annual manifestations, becoming the perfect melting pot for publishers and artists to get together, mingle and collaborate.

Expect an international crowd at this year's Art Book Fair Beijing. They've invited brands, publishers and institutions from over 49 cities and 19 countries, coupled with dozens of book launches, talks, and special presentations held by industry experts. All for just 70RMB (or 50RMB for advance tickets) which you can get online here.

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Photo: Contemporary Photography Magazine/abC

Happening from Friday June 7 till Sunday June 9, we’re talking three full days of gawking at aesthetically pleasing layouts, photo prints, and handcrafted bookbinders. With a full range of activities to partake in like workshops, book launches and showcases, you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to do. To help you make the most of it, here are seven things you have to do.

1. Do a brief walk through first

Photo: Hole In The Wall/abC

With over 162 exhibitors, from publishers to artists-zinemakers, there’s a lot to get through at this book fair. Take your time perusing through the stacks of magazines, art books and zines to get those creative juices flowing. Our best advice is first doing an entire walk-through noting down your faves, and then coming back around for a second look. Catch fresh art publications from Europe presented by educate.net (booth: P03), where you can find a range of art publications from European independent publishers and artists. Worth mentioning is also artist collective Hole In the Wall (booth: C13), that records the people of Beijing and its various sub-cultures in the form of pictures and texts.

2. Catch various institution's showcases

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Photo: Para Site/abC

Museums and art spaces have also partnered with the fair to exhibit collections of their art books. Catch Hong Kong’s leading contemporary art centre, Para Site (booth: X01), who will display a history of the institution’s exhibitions through paper archives and digital formats. Speaking of the digital, Central Club’s One Hundred Thousand People Staring At Their Mobile Phones (booth: X02) is a photographic encapsulation of humanity’s reliance on technology. From city folks to spiritual monks, all of them have one thing in common, heads down, staring at these small illuminating screens.

3. Get educated

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Photo: Grrrrl Zine Fair/abC

Listen to experts talk about their professional experiences in the publishing industry and artists and independent zinemakers on the creative processes behind some of their special projects. Notable speakers include queer artist and founder of Grrrrl Zine Fair, Lu Williams as she discusses art, film, music and publishing through a feminist lens, paying special focus to D.I.Y and working culture. Professional book printer and design Matt Harvey and Max Harvey will also share their experiences in book printing and production. Hear how books are made, printed and produced, and the techniques used from quality design to print materials.

DIY Feminist Zine and D.I.Y Culture from the UK featuring speaker Lu Williams happens Saturday, June 8, from 8-9.30pm.
Means of Production featuring Matt Harvey and Max Harvey happens Friday, June 7, from 8.30-9.30pm.

4. Indulge in comics and graphic art

F 参展方 Minju An
Photo: Minju An/abC

You can’t talk about art books without including comic art and graphic novels. Catch Tiny Splendor, a co-operating printing press based in California. Defined as a pint-sized press, they’ve hosted a series of works which include Journey Galactico done in collaboration with Broken Fingaz, which also marks the Israeli guerrilla graffiti artist’s first ever publication. Beijing-based animator Toyoya will also be showcasing his works at the fair. Known for creating animated images in an 8-bit pixel style, Toyoya’s works are major throwbacks to the 80s and 90s, reminiscent of the classic Nintendo Family computer games. Also included are Korean artists Minju An and Minet Kim with their quirky illustrations.

5. Join a workshop

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Photo: tubaiba/abC

Try your hand at crafty workshops like a Japanese binding workshop, where you’d get to learn all twelve different types of needling methods (who even knew there were 12 different ways in bookbinding?). Not only will you get to make a tortoiseshell and binding manual book using Japanese patterned paper, but you’ll also get to take it home. Or if all that sewing seems like too much for challenge, try out a mini collage workshop where you'll be guided towards making that picture perfect collage that doesn't reek of creepy kidnap posters. Fret not, they're taught by Japanese illustrator and painting book artist tubaiba.

He-style Japanese bookbinding workshop happens Sunday, June 9, 3-5pm. Class is priced at 249RMB per person and limited to 10 people. Click here to purchase tickets.
Mini collage workshop happens Sunday, June 9, 1.30-2.30pm. Class is priced at 100RMB per person and limited to 10 people. Click here to purchase tickets.

6. Get animated

F 参展方 toyoya
Photo: Toyoya/abC

Take a break from the gorgeous art books and head over to the screening salon where you can catch independent animation shorts. See seven different animated shorts by independent animators followed by a discussion on the animated possibilities of narratives.

Batter Around Stories happens Saturday, June 8, 4-5pm at the Screening Salon.

7. Deck out in wacky merchandise

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Photo: abC/WeChat

Art Book Fair Beijing’s got its own collection of book fair merchandise for sale. This year, they’ve collaborated with abC Boy. They’ve got everything from your standard souvenir takeaways like stickers, decals and keychains plastered with art book in China (abC) logos, to the eclectic. Steering away from ordinary offerings, you can also get carts, and our personal favourite, reflective visor-sunglasses combo (88RMB). That's one up for your hypebeast street cred.

Check out the full list of the programme below.
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