If you haven’t already watched Brian Dettmer’s fantastic TED talk on his book art (I covered Dettmer in an earlier post), go do that thing now. If you think cutting up, folding, and sculpting books is sacrilegious, then definitely go and watch his talk.
One thing Dettmer discusses in his talk is why changing books scares us, noting:
“I think one of the reasons people are disturbed by destroying books, people don’t want to rip books and nobody really wants to throw away a book, is that we think about books as living things, we think about them as a body, and they’re created to relate to our body, as far as scale, but they also have the potential to continue to grow and to continue to become new things. So books really are alive.”
From the book art we’ve shared here so far, that sense of scale to the human body and mind has been true and also that sense of growth and newness that comes from taking a book and turning it into art, right? But then what happens when artists explode the scale and take books much, much larger?
I’d argue that there’s that much more wonder and awe to be found.
“Literature Versus Traffic” in Melbourne by Luzinterruptus
From the artists:
“We had 10,000 books discarded by public libraries because they considered them to be obsolete, that the Salvation Army was responsible for collecting and donating them to us… The objective of this piece? The same as the first time that we carried it out, that a river of books overflowing into the physical pedestrian spaces and installed itself in the space allocated to cars, stealing precious space to the dense traffic in the area, in a symbolic gesture in which literature took control of the streets and became the conquerer of the public space, offering the citizens, a space (not as big as we would have liked) in which the traffic withdrew yielding ground to the modest power of the written word.”
From the artist:
“The memory and knowledge accumulated in the books gathered, closed and inaccessible, diverse and precious will be potentially recovered in the end, when all of the books can return to their function of being read, but meanwhile they will have been worked on as sculpting matter and as the spirit of the place where the artist intends to hold us: an hexagonal enclosure with a passage defined by mirrors that assure the vertigo of a fall, the ad infinitum fragmentation, the panic of spatial disorientation characteristic of a virtual infinity.”
What other large-scale book art installations have you seen? Libraries are another particularly fab place to find both larger and smaller installations promoting the love of books and books as art.
All images are from the artist websites linked to before each collection.
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