shushushushu books – Miss Read

shushushushu books

shushushushu books is founded by artist and photo book maker Haishu Chen based in Berlin. It focuses on photography and image and related artistic books, magazines and publications and is dedicated to promoting the exchange of photo books between China and Germany/Europe.
Left, Right
Cai Dongdong, Left, Right, La Maison de Z, 2022 © Cai Dongdong

Among approximately 600,000 anonymous photographs in his collection, artist Cai Dongdong catalogs them according to the period, the costume and makeup of the subjects, and notes written on the backs of the photos. Then he compares them in the left and right design as he pairs up these women portraits of similar age, facial structure, and posture from two different historical periods, specifically before and after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On the right-hand page are photographs taken during the Republic of China between 1912 and 1949, while those on the left-hand page are taken between 1949 and 1978, from the founding of the People's Republic of China to the time of reform and opening up.

Lei Lei, Weekend, Jiazazhi, 2022 © Lei Lei

Today’s issues with photography have officially given way to issues with the image. With Weekend, the artist and Beijing / LA resident Lei Lei not only displays artistic nostalgia, but also the constant quest for certainty regarding history, family and personal identity. His work can be seen as a type of “creative thinking” on the theme, an artistic strategy related to future imagination, and a contradictory position on emotions that cannot be returned to today.

Cards of Chinese Animal Idioms
Mountain River Jump!, Cards of Chinese Animal Idioms, Jiazazhi, 2021 © Mountain River Jump!

Mountain River Jump! is an artist duo founded in 2016 by twin sisters Huang Shan and Huang He. The duo has a variety of creative formats in art, often applying “divination consulting” as a performance to examine the potential of such art medium, and to interact with the audience at the intrinsic level. They have chosen 49 Chinese animal idioms frequently used in daily China, then illustrated for them and made them into 49 divinatory cards.

Through these 49 divinatory cards, we can see how Chinese ancestors described human’s situation through animal idioms. This kind of metaphors can also be found in Zhou Yi. These 49 cards can be distributed into 7 groups, from 0 The Dragon’s Nine Distinguished Sons to 48 Time Flies like A Golden Crow and Runs like A Jade Rabbit, including different stages of personal growth. For example, some of the cards are telling stories about newborn, development, fights, reflections, and rebirth.

Divinatory cards are common in human culture while Tarot Cards are the most popular. In China, there is also a long history of divination. Mountain River Jump! is using Cards of Chinese Animal Idioms to see what will come out when eastern cultural genes mix with fortunetelling in the context of the contemporary world. Meanwhile, they have strong curiosity towards human psychology and individual’s narration. With their studies into Oriental mysticism and folklore, the artists pry open the topics of identity politics, labor issues, feminism, life politics, modernity and others.

By the way, the artist also translates all the Chinese into English to enable English-speakers to try this divinatory system. So don’t worry that you are not able to read Chinese! Just try it and see whether it works or not!