By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2013. Edition of 5.
16 x 15 x 1.8"; 92 pages with 46 images / illustrations. Silkscreen prints on hand-cut paper. Laid in hardbound case. Signed and numbered by the artist.
Leilei Guo: "Waves is a book comprised of cut card stock featuring screen-printing on every page. The title of the book corresponds to both the sculptural form and the meaning and idea of the work. Like most of my work, I was inspired by the architecture and living space found throughout China and around the greater world.
"On the cover of the box is a screen-printed image of a building in Tong Zhou district in Beijing: the building looks much like a typical urban structure, except with very distinctive Islamic features. There are two green onion domes along the roof, and Islamic arches form an integral part of the facade. When the box is opened, one can see that the contents are divided into three parts, severing the building into bottom, middle and top.
"But what do these waves have too do with the Islamic building? Waves are not necessarily connected to this single building, but more to the phenomenon of our modern and growing human living spaces. Like waves, we see building after building being constructed one after another, mostly the same, but affected by the collection of cultures that defines a city. Just like a butterfly effect, each style of building affects the other style, driven by the central phenomenon of urban living that creates this kind of tight living space. It is as if each building is very much alike, but each retains its own character, defined by the culture or religion of the people that live there.
"These days, the living spaces ... become smaller and smaller; the boundaries of regions become blurred and indistinct, and people from different countries and nations live and mingle amongst each other. ... In this globalized world and its international cities, people have different skin colors, yet use the same language. Sometimes we even find ourselves not knowing where we are, whether in New York, Tokyo, Beijing or Paris; the old and historic are replaced by the streamlined and international. It seems as if the boundaries of nations are disappearing, day-by-day. In cities everywhere .. so many buildings of identical style and appearance are built and rebuilt on a daily basis. As our culture globalizes, people, as well as buildings, will join in this massive assimilation. These changes are just like the waves; as one falls, another rises, without every stopping.
"To make this book, I first made the sculpture of the waves with white clay, then sliced it in order to get the individual shapes of each wave; I then used the shapes of the cut clay to use as a template to cut the paper. The green color is the same color used in the Koran; it is the typical color in Islamic culture."