Book Building: Dayanita Singh and Gerhard Steidl

Part of the exhibition “Dayanita Singh: Dancing with my Camera”

What’s the difference between building a book and simply making one? In this talk Dayanita Singh and her longtime printer and publisher Gerhard Steidl share the secrets of their collaboration.

Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer, 2007

Dayanita Singh, Go Away Closer, 2007

© Dayanita Singh

  • 1 h
  • English

Past Dates

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A self-declared “offset artist”, Dayanita Singh calls Gerhard Steidl her “co-conspirator” and together they craft publications that redefine the book as an object and its place in the worlds of art and publishing. For them a book is a mobile concept realized in diverse forms – a suite of accordion-fold booklets in a box, a visual novel, a book with 88 cover variations and more. Using offset lithography as a creative medium, Singh and Steidl print images of a quality that matches traditional exhibition prints.

Based on intuition, a passion for analogue processes, a deep under-standing of materials, a healthy suspicion of convention and not a little humour, Singh and Steidl’s book building is both a blueprint and inspiration for all photographers working in book form. The conversation is moderated by the writer Monte Packham.

Dayanita Singh was born in New Delhi, India. She studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Dayanita Singh: Pothi Khana, Minneapolis Institute of Art (2021); Museum Bhavan, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (2017). She is the 2022 recipient of the Hasselblad Award.

Gerhard Steidl was born in Göttingen and began working as a printer and designer in 1969. He has worked with artists including Joseph Beuys, Marcel Broodthaers and Nam June Paik. In 1972, the first Steidl Verlag book Befragung der documenta (Questioning documenta) was published. This was followed by political non-fiction, literary titles and selected art volumes. In 1994, Steidl Verlag launched its international photobook programme. He has collaborated with Dayanita Singh for 22 years.

Monte Packham was born in Sydney and holds degrees in art history and law from the University of Sydney. He is the author of books including Concentric Circles (2011), ABC Photography (2016), and Living with Matisse, Picasso and Christo: Theodor Ahrenberg and His Collections (2018). Since 2007, he is an editor at Steidl Verlag. Packham lives in Berlin.