Sumi Perera, “Quadrature of the Circle XXX”


Complete book


Book cover and sleeve


Inside page (i)


Inside page (ii)


Inside page (iii)


Artist: Sumi Perera (Surrey, U.K.)

Title: Quadrature of the Circle XXX (2011)

Medium/technique(s): Felt book jacket. Pages: screenprint, open bite acid etching, aquatint, embossed, stitched, hand cut Somerset paper 300g,  coated ivory and coffee-coloured Canford card of varying stock 120-160g , coptic bound leather cover with etched, aquatinted zinc plates leather, inlay and overlay

Edition size: unique

Number of pages: 90

Dimensions, open: 19.5 x 62 x 28.5 cm

Dimensions, closed: 19.5 x 28.5 x 5 cm


Artist statement:

Part of a series of books, each a variation on the theme of another.

Like much of Perera’s work, the final editorial control of the piece is handed over to the reader. The book can be read in any order, may be inverted and then read in the opposite direction, i.e. the front cover becomes the back cover and vice versa.  There is no definite beginning nor end, the narrative is left loose to be directed by the reader. Fragments are supplied for the reader to add and form their own narrative. The coptic binding of this book allows it to be splayed open at 300° to stand vertically, to reveal most of the pages,

The expression ‘squaring the circle’ (quadrature of the circle) is sometimes used metaphorically for a task that is deemed to be intrinsically impossible. The challenge of constructing a square with the same area as a given circle, using only a compass and ruler, within a set number of steps, has baffled mathematicians since ancient times.  In Spanish, the expression “descubriste la cuadratura del círculo” (“you discovered the quadrature of the circle”) is often used derisively to dismiss claims that someone has found a simple solution to a particularly hard or intractable problem.