srijeda, 7. studenoga 2012.

Brian Dettmer - kirurg za knjige

Odbačena, zastarjela knjiga (rječnik, atlas, enciklopedija)  tijelo je kojem Dettmer seciranjem otkriva anatomsku unutrašnjost, kako bi onda te papirnate "iznutrice" čim prije pretvorio u naslage u kirurškim skulpturama koje nas podsjećaju da su knjige anatomski atlas vremena i da povijest ljude pretvara u prostor, a onda u stvari.
S knjigama kao građom umjetničkih skulptura i instalacija krenuo je inače Buzz Spector.

Book Sculpture Art by Brian Dettmer

Interview with the Book Surgeon

The last few days of February brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to My Modern Met thanks to the incredible work of Brian Dettmer, aka The Book Surgeon. In fact, even bookstores could appreciate Dettmer's incredible art with Harvard Books recently tweeting, "I suppose we don't necessarily recommend you do this to your books, but WOW. It's the work of the 'book surgeon.'"
We got in touch with Dettmer to ask him a few questions about how his style has evolved over the years. (On a side note, the artist said at the beginning of his email to us: "My inbox is flooded from the resent surge in blogs - the recent wave all started by your site - thanks)!" Read our interview with him below as you enjoy more of his fantastic work.

Can you give us any background stories on your favorite piece?
I think one of my favorite pieces is New Books of Knowledge (as shown above). I had been working on single books and began to experiment with combining multiple books around 2007-8. This piece was one of the first pieces to combine a complete encyclopedia series on one single piece successfully.
It works as a landscape but also as an organism, consisting of several singular components making a larger form. I began by bending all of the covers of the books on themselves and gluing them in this way. Then I experimented with the thin, pie like sliver shapes the covers made and realized I could get a radius from setting them onto each other. After connecting them all and sanding down the pages to create a large solid form I had a great block to begin carving. The development of the piece took weeks before I even began to carve. I had no idea where it was going to end up when I began.

Has your work evolved over the years?
I hope so. I try to push the possibilities with every new piece or series I do. I began working with books around 2001 and carving into them the way I do around 2003 but it wasn't until about 2007 that I began to combine multiple books and really push the forms of the single books as well. So, I would say the scale, the detail, and the variety of approaches has really evolved over the past few years.
A lot of people think there is a limit and ask where I can go from here and then they are surprised when they see how much my work has changed since the show before. A lot of my work is intuitive when I'm developing it and then chance plays a major role before I begin carving so I never know where something will end up.

What do you hope others get out of your art?
I like my work to work on several levels. Some people may get caught up in its physical presence and get wrapped into the beauty or detail of the piece without considering my work's philosophical implications but I'd like to think it makes most people step back and look at books in a new way after seeing my work.
I'd like to open a conversation to think about the book's current role in media culture, its history and its future. Everything is turning digital and information is more accessible than ever yet its more formless and fragile at the same time. We are at a pivotal point in our history and the way we are recording it. Its frightening and exciting at the same time.

Who are some other contemporary artists do you think are breaking new ground?
I'm always amazed by Tim Hawkinson. Tom Friedman's earlier work really made me think about the possibilities of everyday materials. Buzz Spector was one of the first artists I ever saw work with books as a material.

How has the internet and/or social media helped you get the word out about your art?
The internet has been great because it has been self-perpetuating for my own work. After the work, I think the most important thing is to take good images and to allow others to grab them and let them spread. I don't twitter and I'm not on Facebook and I don't really have to promote myself at this point. It's a cliche but things really work from the bottom up now. I have been really fortunate with bloggers and other sites mentioning my work and that leads to magazines, newspapers and other press and more opportunities for my work to be exposed to an audience.

 Thanks for the interview, Brian. We're truly fascinated. -

Recent Publications:

Book Arts, Iconic Sculptures and Installations made from Books

Brian Dettmer Elemental
2011/2012 Working Artist Project
Detail view of new work by Brian Dettmer. Image courtesy of the artist.
exhibition dates: October 20, 2012 - January 5, 2013
opening reception: Friday, October 19th, 6:30-8:30pm
artist talk: Thurs, Nov 29th, 6:30pm reception, 7pm talk (free admission)
Press | ArtsATL, "Profile: Brian Dettmer..." by Andrew Alexander
Interview | City Cafe on WABE 90.1 FM, "Book Carver Brian Dettmer"
Interview | Sculptcast hosted by Joe Bologna
ABOUT Elemental
Material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding, from a tangible constant to an endless series of mutations. The richness and depth of older books is universally respected yet often undiscovered as users need a quicker, slicker bite of information. The book’s intended function has decreased. Its relevance is still vital but the content stays sedentary and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. We are left with raw material.

In my upcoming show for MOCA GA I continue to question the past, present and future of the book by exploring and expanding possibilities and perspectives of the book’s form and its content. In this show iconic forms and symbols from early childhood education are deconstructed and represented in new ways. Encyclopedia sets merge to form tall towers and pixilated patterns as the symbols and ideas from the past are broken down to basic elements. Long rows of paperbacks are compressed and sanded into solid wooden forms. Books on games reveal new matrices as a result of strategy and chance. A chart inspired by a thesaurus follows thousands of potential paths of meaning that spring from a single word. Images of state flags are dissected and reconstructed to present a new vocabulary about locality from existing symbols of authority.
Authoritative materials and images adapt to amplify their own physicality while raising questions about their own internal meaning and the structures they rely on to communicate. In the past, ideas were recorded and saved in solid forms but in today’s intangible world we may be left with nothing. Foundations are threatened and history is lost as formats change and structures erode. We are at a pivotal moment as the monopoly of the book breaks down and elementary concepts and symbols are losing their traditional forms to be reformatted for the future.

ABOUT Brian Dettmer
Brian Dettmer is known for his detailed and innovative sculptures with books and other forms of analog media. Dettmer has had solo shows in New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and Barcelona. His work has been exhibited throughout North America and Europe at galleries and museums including the Museum of Arts and Design (NY), The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute (DC), the Museum of Contemporary Art (GA), The Chicago Cultural Center (IL), and Museum Rijswijk (Netherlands) among many others. His work has been featured on the CBS Evening News, The New York Times (US), The Los Angeles Times (US), The Guardian (UK), Chicago Tribune (US), Art News, Modern Painters, Wired, and National Public Radio among others. Earlier this year Dettmer had a solo show at the University of Maribor in Maribor, Slovenia as part of its celebration as the European Capital of Culture for 2012. Dettmer is originally from Chicago. He currently resides in Atlanta where he is represented by Saltworks Gallery. His WAP Studio Assistant was Ashley Schick. 

Books: Destruction, Transformation

During the conception of my project of destroyed books, I frequently turned to the work of Brian Dettmer. Dettmer’s work treats the material book as a sort of body which he dissects to reveal the innards and contents of the book. Yet in his dissection, the shell of the book disappears and the separated pages appear together in a layered plane. Dettmer views form and content as inextricably such that his alteration of material does not liberate either form or content from the state it is normally presented to us in but rather reconfigures content through this transmutation of material (for ideas of transmutation, I am draw to the work of Nasher favorite Dario Robleto).
In discussing his process, Dettmer notes this lack of control he deals with in carving the book. He is subject to the book and even in this transformation, he cannot escape its contents (or form). I too wanted to deal with the incapability of the content of a book’s inscription on a lineage of rational philosophy and illustrated this through these ultimately fruitless wounds to the text and form of a book. -
Download a .pdf of the handout from the exhibition HERE

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