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Pop-up books to be exhibited as works of art

TAIPEI -- An exhibition of rare pop-up books will open in Taipei tomorrow with the aim of showing visitors that such books are also works of art, the organizers said yesterday.

The exhibition will showcase 160 rare pop-up books ranging from the longest pop-up book in the world — an 8.2-meter-long book about the history of Czech Republic — to a 4-cm-wide miniature version of Anne of Green Gables.

Other items on displays will include books that open to a 1.4-meter-long Titanic, a 1.5-meter-tall space shuttle and a Taiwanese Hand Puppet theater.

The exhibition will also feature a set of books by the U.S. fashion quarterly Visionaire that has produced pop-ups by contemporary artists such as China's Cai Guoqiang, who is known for his gunpowder drawings and explosive works.

“Our biggest goal is to send the message that pop-ups are not just ordinary books or children's books, but interactive visual art,” said Michael Yang, curator of the event and a private collector who supplied the exhibits.

“Every pop-up book is assembled by hand, which means that each one is a unique piece of art,” Yang said.

The interactive nature of pop-up books also makes it easy for readers to absorb the knowledge and information contained there in, he added.

Chang Yui-tan, director of the National Museum of History where the exhibition will be held, agreed that pop-ups are unique and more than just books.

The museum hopes to show how pop-up books have evolved over the past 700 years, from a resource that explained astronomy, anatomy and mechanics to a spinoff of popular movies such as “Titanic,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” he said.

Matthew Reinhart, an American pop-up book artist who has created many award winning books such as “Star Wars: A Pop-up Guide to the Galaxy,” and Hong Kong pop-up artist Liu Sijie will also attend the exhibition to discuss the creative processes with visitors.

Meanwhile, regular children's books and pop-ups have been donated to children in rural areas of Taiwan as part of the exhibition, in a joint effort by the museum and the United Daily News Group.

A total of 1,000 elementary school children will be invited to attend the exhibition for free and workshops will be held to show teachers how to use pop-up books as a learning resource.

The exhibition will run until Sept. 16.

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A pop-up book character is displayed at “The Stunning Pop-up Books” press conference in Taipei, yesterday. The National Museum of History will host the exhibition from June 16 to Sept. 16 to showcase the wonders of the craftsmanship behind the books. (CNA)

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