Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wunderkammer {2}

Click here for photos of the debut exhibition at Polymath & Crust.

The exhibition is really fantabulous.  I couldn't refrain myself from shooting almost all the displays, which supposedly might have frightened Karen, the owner who was stationed there.  The very first installation that grasp your eyes once you climb up to 3rd floor is a big bird cage stuffed with crumpled papers with a hand in white glove sticking out, and even more crumpled papers scattered on the floor forming a 'trail' till the top of a wall.  Nice work !  I also like the ways they present the cuttle-fish and Ginseng, especially the descriptions. (Ginseng, the trapped human, .......  The cuttle-fish fell in love much too often ......)

There is a line of old-fashion cooking pans filled with different ingredients like walnuts, mushrooms, sea stars, cordyceps, etc.  There are wooden crates with various types of huge dried mushrooms inside.  There are many bottles, chemical flasks and tubes containing questionable but pretty-looking liquids and/or substances such as the Alpine Iceberg samples.  I didn't have the chance to ask Kenny or Karen if they are the real things.  And many others.  I also found bunches of rusty wrought irons cut in even length there, making me wonder how many 'barang-barang' do they keep in advance for exhibition ?  Their workplace must be cramped with tons of unused and scrapped items like Karung Guni (gunny sack).

Anyway, to cut it short, I was impressed and would love to see more exhibitions in the future.

Of course, I shopped around afterwards.  These are hand-bound notebooks with different meaningful passages type-written on the cover.  Costs SGD4.00 ea.

One particular Book to take note and will buy later (I've far too many books under my To-Read-List at the moment) is The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy (Hardcover) .

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Exhibition : Wunderkammer: or, Cabinet of Curiosities

Boys and girls, there will be a 3-weeks exhibition commencing on this coming Saturday (27.06.2009) at Polymath & Crust, 86 Club Street.

"Wunderkammer: or, Cabinet of Curiosities" is the bookstore's debut exhibition featuring preservations of curious specimens from nature and how they relate to the grotesque by way of human interpretation.  Inspired by the scientific revolution of the Renaissance where perspectives were re-examined through dissections and observations of the natural world, the show intermingles science and art by re-examining our consciousness of nature, the exotic and the grotesque.

Sounds interesting O.R.E.D.  So, see you there.

Only recently I've found out that they are on flickr too.  You can view a number of nice vintage goodies and tchotchkes that are available at their stores.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Illustrator Deanna Staffo

These are some real nice and adorable sketches by Deanna Staffo, an illustrator from Pennsylvania, US.  Like it ?  Check out more of her works here or visit her blog for more inspirations.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Found this amazing children book at Corraini. Bob Gill’s A to Z is a book in which each page is divided into 3 parts, letting children to glance through in every direction, to find the balance in the apparent disorder and reconstruct images and words with the help of their colours, and by recomposing each image they will discover its name at its side.

It will be a good gift for my 2 years old nephew.

Eye Halo

I don't know if you've such experience : At times, when I close my eyes, I see a ghostly bright halo like this image (I drawn it thru my memory ..... close but not exact).

May be because my eyes are complaining of  their tiredness upon staring the computer screen for too long pushing pixels around.

Looks like a galaxy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nieves Books

Nieves is an independent publishing house based in Zurich, Switzerland. Founded in 2001 by Benjamin Sommerhalder, Nieves' focus is on publishing Artist Books and Zines. Take a look, and you will know why Nieves books are highly recommendable objects.  
Thanks to Nieves, artists' works are distributed to a far wider audience and in a much more inexpensive way, making artist books more accessible and more artists get to show their work to more people. A great idea !

Apparently, Casualpoet does stock some of Nieves books/zines in the store.

My favourites : 

Peaceable Kingdom by Chris Johanson / Jo Jackson (Portland, USA)

Domicile Conjugal by Yuka Katagri (Tokyo, Japan)

New Books

These are what I've purchased from Booksactually and Polymath & Crust :

  1. Paris Bouquins by Jeu de Paume パリの本屋さん (Japanese) (This book features 30 over bookstores and libraries in Paris, each of which has a specialized genre, be it children picture books, art, design graphic, photography & film, food, gardening and travel, and focus on selected themes, and unique products.  The few bookstores that tickle my memories are the renown Shakespeare & Co, La Hune and Librairie du musée des Arts décoratifs which I had visited 3 years ago.)
  2. Proust and the Squid (The Story and Science of the Reading Brain) by Maryanne Wolf
  3. Books v. cigarettes by George Orwell
  4. Why I Write by George Orwell

I love the sarcastic passage on the cover :
"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"

Alright, man.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Polymath & Crust

If you don't already know, the super booksellers, Kenny and Karen of Booksactually have open a new store, Polymath and Crust which specializes in Non-Fiction titles covering Science, History, Travel, Biography, Film, Photography, etc. This sister store is just a stone's throw away from Booksactually, which means you can visit both stores at one go.  Click here to see more photos.

Frankly speaking, with the worrying recession at this very moment, top up with the closure of 70-years-old The Shanghai Book Co last year end and now The Commercial Press at The Cathay, you just can't believe that this is actually happening.  A bookstore focusing on Non-Fiction titles in Singapore ?

But this is not a dream.  It is really happening.  So do go check it out, buy some good books, and go back again and again.  You can find the complete series {I/II/III} of Penguin's Great Ideas there.  How I wish I can have them all ...... 20 books per series, each series come with harmonic cover designs in distinguishable RGB.

Oh yes! There is an exhibition hall on the 3rd floor and will have its first exhibit very soon in another 2 weeks time. Just stay tune.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chinese Zodiac

Well, I do make it a habit to quickly flip to the page where the day's Chinese Zodiac is if given the chance to read newspapers early morning, and have a glance to what is happening that day.

As a doggy,  I find this part of description is seemingly fitting : "Dogs at times can also be temperamental, narrow-minded and stubborn. When this happens, the Dog takes off alone in order to make things right again inside its head. Dogs can benefit by learning to relax and being more rational."  Okay......  You can go here to read more of your own zodiac sign.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about is not zodiac sign, but the beautiful handmade book created by Michael Wertz, printer and illustrator, partnered with his friend Carolee Wheeler. The book comes with twelve pages of silkscreened animals and letterpressed type printed on nice bright orange paper.  Editioned, signed and numbered.  I really like the stunning and yummy palettes.

According to my zodiac sign, dogs also prefer saving money to cover future expenses.  It can be true and untrue.  In this particular case, I just can't resist the temptation and order a copy of this beautiful book straight away.  At times, I'm guilty of my spending habit.  I try hard to live frugally now to save money for a trip to Europe, most probably next year.  And hopefully I can make it. ^_^


These artworks by Björnik from Philippines are simply fascinating. I believe his background as an Architect do give him the advantage to become percisely detailed with his artworks. This student assistant turned construction worker turned art director turned architect is now focusing his time on his unique pen & ink illustrations for personal and commissioned artworks.

You can view some more of his interesting works on his
deviantArt page or his personal blog.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wikipedia In Print

Given such damn exceptionally and unacceptably huge!!! volume (5000 pages), do you think you really want to flip through it, let alone carrying it ?  I doubt so.

The creator, Rob Matthews says :

I'm comparing the internet Wikipedia to a traditional encyclopedia by putting it in the same format, therefor suggesting that Wikipedia is dysfunctional compared to a normal encyclopedia. This is suggested by how I've conveyed Wikipedia physically. compared to a normal encyclopedia the information is a lot less reliable. I wanted to make a comment on how everyone goes to the internet these days for information, yet it is unreliable compared to what it has replaced.

Tom Bloom's Illustrations

Thanks to Michael Lieberman at Book Patrol, I come to admire Tom Bloom's lovely illustrations for Between The Covers (BTC), an antiquarian book store in New Jersey, USA.

It all happened 20 years ago.  When Tom Congalton, the proprietor of BTC, and cartoonist, book collector Tom Bloom first met in the late 1980's, they agreed to swap books for art. Ever since, Tom's illustrations have graced the covers of over 100 catalogs for BTC. His work has also appeared on numerous lists issued by BTC and is a seminal element of their website.

Dan Gregory from BTC has recently begun to document this relationship with
a series of galleries featuring Bloom's work for BTC.  In addition to the images for each catalog, he also provides a brief history of the catalog itself. 

What an amazing collaboration !

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Book Shelf

OK.  May be not intentionally, the folks at Not Tom design studio have made this nice piece of "furniture".

How the idea came from ?

The idea for the Book Book Shelf came from the realisation of how many books are discarded on a regular basis. These particular books were to be thrown out at the end of a jumble sale and we wondered what more could be made of them. We like the idea that value can be added to many discarded items through ingenuity and redefinition of context.

New Books

I had bought the following picture books from Yun Nan Book Store during World Book Fair 2009 in Suntec last Saturday :

The prices are unbelievably dirt cheap.  Originally they would cost around SGD6.00 - SGD9.00 (which are already cheaper than the usual, btw), but they were then offered at a much much lower price due to some, to my standard, very minor discrepancies such as little bumped corners, small tears on dust jacket, rubbed spines, whereas the contents are in very good condition - clean and bright.   No complain.

I had also get a number of nicely printed Chinese picture books. ^_^

Another happy news : I had received the newly handmade zine The Dark Order of The Spooky Channel, printed as a limited run of 50 (mine is no 19), by Zeroten on the same day.  The palettes, mixed collaged textured elements with strong flat colors and pencil drawings are real bright and interesting. Each zine also comes with 1) it's own unique code name, which will enable you to be an official member of The Spooky Channel, receiving access to secrets, competitions and freebies exclusive to TSC members; 2) a cd which you should listen to while looking at the images.  One last thing, I simply like the wax seal on the envelope (I couldn't bear to spoil it, thus opening the envelope sideways).