Art book

Fonts and Textures: A Celebration of Print at KL Art Book Fair

The post-pandemic world is the perfect time to create new opportunities and blur the boundaries of Malaysia’s creative scene.

The inauguration Kuala Lumpur Art Book Fair (KLABF), which will set up at Godown KL (11 Jalan Ampang, KL) from December 3-5, offers the masses a glimpse of how the arts, design and literary scenes can come together.

Hosted by KL-based independent graphic design studio Little Ideas Everyday (LIE) in partnership with The Godown KL, the show showcases trends and developments in the print media industry, while also being a network for artists, illustrators, graphic designers, independent publishers, writers, photographers, institutions and engravers.

The three-day KLABF, inspired by artist-run culture and the international DIY / self-publishing scene, will host several local and international artists and studios.

Gerimis Art Project, which explores the narratives of Orang Asli, is one of the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Art <a class=Book Fair lecture series on December 5. Photo: Kuala Lumpur Art Book Fair” src=”https://apicms.thestar.com.my/uploads/images/2021/11/29/1386094.jpg” onerror=”this.src=” https:=”” style=”width: 620px; height: 462px;”/>Gerimis Art Project, which explores the narratives of Orang Asli, is one of the participants in the Kuala Lumpur Art Book Fair lecture series on December 5. Photo: Kuala Lumpur Art Book Fair

The aim of this event is to serve as a catalyst for creatives to come together under one roof to exhibit their latest works, discuss and exchange ideas on artistic creation, publishing and other related topics.

In many ways, KL can now strive to build an audience and attract the same interest from the print community as seen at art book fairs in Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok.

For a general description, art books offer the fusion of text and images. They tend to use special covers, paper, and packaging because the book is a work of art in itself. This is only a small part of the story.

A close-up view of shuuhuahua’s We Are Not Coming Back fanzine. Photo: KL Art Book Fair

There are many definitions when it comes to art books, and KLABF serves as a window into this exciting scene.

“Having participated in art book fairs in the regions of South East and East Asia, we hope to recreate the same inspiring experience here with the Malaysian audience. The show will provide a relaxed setting for creatives, printers, publishers and the general public to directly interact and learn from each other. Its objective is quite simple, but it has a potential ripple effect on the community as a whole ”, explains Sam Chia, co-director of KLABF.

“And we are already seeing the effects with all the new publications printed and prepared by our exhibitors for the show. There is a lot of activity, a lot of new found creative energy.

KLABF will feature nearly 40 local exhibitors, including artists, designers, printmakers, zinemakers, publishers and galleries who are reshaping the creative landscape.

Humana is a unique character, a wacky and fun creation by Vanissa, a Malaysian-based graphic designer and illustrator who is part of KLABF.  Photo: Humana Humana is a unique character, a wacky and fun creation by Vanissa, a Malaysian-based graphic designer and illustrator who is part of KLABF. Photo: Humana

The launch of the LIE product To look for magazine, which delves into the world of designs, subcultures and changemakers, is one of the highlights of the fair.

The contemporary art institution Ilham Gallery is also opening a temporary stand, while the founders of the magazine Bahasa Malaysia Svara, the screen printing brand Bogus Merchandise and Gerimis Art Project, an art and archiving initiative that explores the stories of Orang Asli, will respectively host lectures and workshops. KLABF offers a mix of retail spaces and industry information programs. For those looking for unique printing-related gifts this holiday season, the arrival of KLABF is timely.

At this event, art books include zines, graphic novels, magazines, chapbooks, monographs, photo books, academic publications, limited editions and many more. Not to mention badges, T-shirts, pins, totebags, posters, sculptural pieces, to reserve projects on the borderline of performance.

The story of the independent journal 'Svara' is part of the KL Art Book Fair program on December 5th.  Photo: Svara The story of the independent journal ‘Svara’ is part of the KL Art Book Fair program on December 5th. Photo: Svara

There will also be guest booths to showcase work by participating international artists and designers from the United States, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, among others.

“KLABF is ideal for anyone looking to discover inspiring works of talent from creative fields such as graphics, illustration, photography, creative writing and printmaking. There’s a good mix of content spanning a wide range of interests, from both experienced and up-and-coming creatives, so there will be something for everyone! Said Chia.

KLABF is a paid event. The event will be split into two sessions on Friday (December 3) and three sessions on Saturday (December 4) and Sunday (December 5), for better crowd control. Opening hours: from noon to 7:30 p.m.

KLABF is open to fully vaccinated people and public health guidelines will be strictly followed.

More information here.


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