Thursday, March 23, 2017

Carving books

Brian Dettmer: World Series (image from here)
In the current issue of Sculpture magazine there is an article about Brian Dettmer who uses books to make his work.  He cuts away books, leaving the contents he chooses, and contrives new shapes for them.  There is an interesting TED talk by him here about his work.

Household physicians
(image from here)
I like the sculptural aspects of Dettmer's work, that he takes the books well beyond the conventional book appearance - I found the photos of the clamped and constrained books in his studio fascinating.  There seem to be more and more artists using existing books as raw material in their work and Dettmer joins Tom Phillips and his A humument pieces at the top of my list of those most interesting and thought-provoking.  But it is an intellectual attraction only; I do not find this kind of art viscerally moving.  I find my thresholds becoming increasingly high these days - perhaps the result of seeing so/too much?


  1. Brian Dettmer's work is indeed quite extraordinary in it's detail, precision and skill. Perhaps it's that very precision that somehow takes the heart out of things. I've came across him in various books showing collections of artists' books (though sadly not 'in the flesh') but have never found myself drawn back to the pieces shown as I have to other similar work.

    1. There is so much clever stuff around these days.