Big Tail Elephant – Build and Resist

  • 2023

  • Communication

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Times Art Center (Berlin)

Designed In:


The book features performances, photographs, installations, and videos of the group. Founded in 1990 by Chen Shaoxiong, Liang Juhui, and Lin Yilin (later joined by Xu Tan), the collective pioneered experimental art in Guangzhou, the Pearl River Delta (PRD), and China.

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  • The primary goal of this publication was to aid in the global understanding of and research into Big Tail Elephant, by providing carefully selected firsthand materials, often scattered in hard-to-find publications, both in Chinese and in English translation. Therefore, the design of the book needed to capture the spirit of the artists' group while giving a structure to the collected materials.

  • To capture the urban guerrilla style of the artists’ works, the typography on the book cover was made by spraying and then digitalizing it, resembling graffiti. The modern, bright neon orange paper and typography contrast with the old archive pictures and rough paper, giving the book a contemporary feel. The use of different paper for different layers of text and images provides structure, with original manuscripts of the artists inserted between pages in a smaller format on lightweight traditional paper.

  • The overall design of the book reflects the avant-garde, postmodernist, urban guerrilla style of the artists’ work, while maintaining a clear structure to give an overview of the collected materials and serve as an archive. The book provides a feel for Big Tail Elephant’s practices, aiding to understand their impact on Chinese contemporary art and the necessity to carry on the legacy they left today.

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