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abC Art Book Fair
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艺术书展

2021.07.04-07.11

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  /  BEIJING SILVERMINE

Talk Soon

Erik Kessels & Thomas Sauvin

Talk Soon is the wordless quarantined dialogue between Dutch artist Erik Kessels and French artist Thomas Sauvin.

Every day, throughout that tumultuous spring of 2020, Erik and Thomas sent one another idiosyncratic, uncaptioned photographs; catalysing an organic, free-associative exchange of some 120 archival images.

Atelier Éditions’ author Kingston Trinder then composed an equally free-associative, altogether-whimsical narrative with which to further entwine the duo’s eclectic photographs. These two archives of vernacular photography, one from the East, the other from the West, achieve a dialogue through the recurrence of photographic practices, aesthetics, and subjects.

Talk Soon, a tearaway postcard book, allows readers to endlessly juxtapose the delightful photographs selected by the two quarantined artists.

120 cards
180 × 130 mm
2021

$36.00

17 18 19 - Standard Edition

Thomas Sauvin

The series 17 18 19 is drawn from a bag of negative film salvaged from a recycling plant on the outskirts of Beijing in 2010. The bag contained an archive of over 15,000 scratched black and white negatives, shot at one of the city’s detention centers between 1991 and 1993. Pocket knives, screwdrivers, shovels, stolen cash, clothing, jewelry and home electronics are placed before the camera; the photographs clearly present evidence and mugshots of the accused, but they are entirely cut off from any further information. They have survived only as inverted images, trapped on film.

Presented here in their original form as negatives, the camera behaves as an X-ray machine the objects glow in a grey void, creating daunting still lifes of an unexpected kind. Unsettling and beautiful in equal measure, every item these people have left behind, whether a weapon or an object of desire, is preserved like an artifact, a fossil for our examination. The evidence if often displayed alongside a referential three-centimeter ruler where the numbers 17, 18, and 19 appear.

Albeit utilitatian in function and form, the negatives, objects of the passage of time, distance us from the unidentified hors-champ events to which they bear witness. Slowly, compassion, emerging from personal memory, can begin to replace judgment.

224 p
150 × 205 mm
2019

$55.50

Great Leaps Forward

Thomas Sauvin

Great Leaps Forward unveils a series of photos drawn from a plastic bag bought in a Beijing flea market in 2016. Sealed tightly with a knot, the bag had settled there unnoticed for many decades. Upon opening the bag, over 300 photos were discovered, taken by an anonymous member of the Xi’an Physical Education University’s department of Photography. All the images, meticulously depicting various athletes in action, often defying gravity, were shot on the same field during a bright day of June 1960.

To date, these images are the only photographic record that collector and artist Thomas Sauvin found from the time of The Great Leap Forward (1958-1962). During these years, a chaotic industrialization campaign meant to transform China from an agrarian economy to a new communist regime rooted in industry and large-scale agricultural production led to the deadliest famine of human history. Any photographic documentation from these years remains extremely rare.

In this posthumous collaboration with an anonymous photographer, this publication invites us to contemplate a strangely metaphorical aerial ballet on the margins of history.

128 p
170 × 330 mm
2019

$55.50

Until Death Do Us Part

Thomas Sauvin

Until Death Do Us Part focuses on the unexpected role cigarettes play in Chinese weddings. As a token of appreciation, it is customary for the bride to light a cigarette for each and every man invited. The bride and the groom are then invited to play some cigarette-smoking games of an unprecedented ingenuousness. This publication pays homage to a tradition in which love and death walk hand in hand. These photos come from the Beijing Silvermine project, an archive of half a million negatives salvaged over the years from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing.

108 p
53 × 83 × 21 mm
2015

$27.80

Beijing Silvermine is an archive of 850 000 negatives salvaged over the last ten years from a recycling plant on the edge of Beijing. Assembled by the French collector and artist Thomas Sauvin, Beijing Silvermine offers a unique photographic portrait of the Chinese capital and the life of its inhabitants in the decade following the Cultural Revolution.