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Artist ID: 2306

As a contemporary bookbinder and Chinese gay man, I craft conceptual books to explore identity, sexuality, and human relationships. My handbound books, book-alike objects, and book installations portray solitude, delineate intimacy, and evoke an immersive atmosphere. By experimenting with the materiality of the page, thread, and cover, I deploy personal memories to celebrate the importance of oneself.
My books are inspired by introspection, imagination, and compassion. Through color, mythology, and symbolism, I work with image-making and object-making, papermaking, fiber/textile, and other techniques to showcase the desires, tenderness, and fragility of the LGBTQ community. Improvisation helps me to keep the process organically to mimic the subconsciousness, and I adjust the pages by editing, continue by building, and explore by combining. The journey of making a book is similar to puzzling; starting with fragmental ideas and matching them in a meaningful position that leads to a final answer.

To me, books are the expressions of emotions, sequences of consciousness, and collections of moments. A human is a book; the name is the title, appearance is the cover, and the memories are the pages. I aspire to bring the sense of ceremony of reading a book into my mixed-media book installation; the viewers enter the space like they open a book, and they close the cover when they exit the space for a poetic and intimate experience. Through curating the different forms of books in purposeful location based on the site structure, I design an implied book that the audience’s walking flow is the thread to bind the pages of books together as a whole.

Currently, my research focuses on books in expanded fields and gender studies. I explore the materiality and challenge the concept of Book Arts. Through expanding the structure of a book into sculptures, installations, social engagement practice, and time arts, I create conceptual books to foster a comforting utopia for the audience to embrace the vulnerability of otherness.

Jacob Z. Wan is a contemporary bookbinder who creates mixed-media conceptual books to celebrate the importance of oneself. His books have been collected internationally and exhibited in Florida Biennial, International Book Art Exhibition, Germany, and China. Wan has received his BFA and MFA from the University of Central Florida, and he has resided in Orlando, FL since 2014.

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