Printed in a run of 2475, no two copies of Toko’s contemporary Chinese art book are the same
The White Rabbit Gallery opened in Sydney’s Chippendale suburb in 2009 to showcase what has become one of the world’s most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art. Its 2000 works, from almost 700 artists, are owned by Australian philanthropist Judith Neilson, who found herself inspired after several trips to Beijing in the late 1990s.
To represent the breadth and depth of her collection beyond the inner walls of the gallery, Neilson commissioned Australian studio Design by Toko to develop a landmark limited-edition publication. The works of 99 artists are divided into three books of 33, which are subsequently housed together within a bright red hardcover box. The box itself has 99 variations, each screen-printed in white with a unique statement related to one of the artists found within. The white books are also one-of-a-kind, with a different artwork selected to grace the cover of each. As a result, no two box sets in the entire print run of 2475 copies are the same.
Design by Toko’s visual approach was directly inspired by the Little Red Book, a collation of statements pulled from the speeches of former Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong that was initially published in 1964. Today in China, the book is predominantly seen as a gift for its nostalgic qualities, although rare editions are popular with collectors and command an extremely high price.