Under the Influence: Books that Inspire Artists is a travelling library featuring one hundred titles, from across multiple genres, chosen by artists at the invitation of Asia Art Archive. For many art practitioners, reading is a starting point for their work, a process that permeates their practice. In this context, books have the potential to spark an artwork.
AAA asked participants to share personal stories related to their selections, thereby providing singular perspectives on these foundational texts. Under the Influence debuts in AAA’s booth at Art Basel Hong Kong, accompanied by events that engage with these distinctive materials. After the art fair, this travelling library will travel to secondary schools in Hong Kong, circulating these ideas to new audiences.


Show & Tell: Artist Conversations

How does reading inform an artistic practice? Artists discuss the books they selected for Under the Influence at AAA's booth and share how reading shapes their work.

21 March, 6pm

Yang Jiechang in conversation with AAA Researcher Anthony Yung on Guang Yizhou Shuangji by Kang Youwei

22 March, 5:30pm

Rashid Rana in conversation with AAA Public Programmes Curator Ingrid Chu on his 15 Invitations project Present Elsewhere

23 March, 4pm

Abigail Reynolds in conversation with AAA Managing Editor Doretta Lau on Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban 

24 March, 3pm

Zheng Bo in conversation with frieze Deputy Editor Amy Sherlock on Mao's War Against Nature by Judith Shapiro

25 March, 3pm

Nadim Abbas and Cheong Kah Kit in conversation with AAA Researcher Michelle Wong on Dune by Frank Herbert and The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares


Teacher Workshop: Artistic Practice and Knowledge Transfer

25 March, 11–12:30pm 

How do artists seek knowledge, expand their perspectives, and engage with the contemporary world? To answer this question, AAA Educator-in-Residence Kurt Chan examines the books the artists chose for Under the Influence alongside their work. He reveals how practitioners draw from books across multiple disciplines to inspire and enrich their art making. 

Schools interested in applying for the travelling library are encouraged to register for this teacher workshop.

Supported by Elaine & Anto Marden, Wendy Lee & Stephen Li, and Dee Poon

Design Partners: Open UU

Media Partners: frieze and Ran Dian

AAA is a Cultural Partner of Art Basel in Hong Kong for 2017. 

Learning and Participation Programme Sponsor:

Special thanks to all participating artists.

Relevant content

Image: Under the Influence: Books that Inspire Artists, 2017.
Under the Influence: A Travelling Library of Books that Inspire Artists

Under the Influence: A Travelling Library of Books that Inspire Artists

Jun 2017–May 2018