Hello Bliss Enthusiasts!
As you may know, the “official launch” of this blog begins March 28th but I just ran across something that warrants immediate posting! As you Facebook friends of Bliss Habits know, it is Surprise week so it all seems perfect.
Take a close look at the image above
Using very sharp knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carved this remarkable sculpture, one page at a time. Called The Book Surgeon, Brian does not alter the books in any way except to remove specific parts of a single page. To say the results are surprising is certainly an understatement!
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.
“My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception,” he says.
“The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge.”
Wow! So incredible. I have to admit to some personal prejudice regarding so called “altered books” because I have always felt books were kind of sacred. To hurt one intentionally always feels dirty to me. However, in the case of Brian’s work I feel we are lucky he doesn’t share my same phobia!
You can see much of Brian’s Work over on his site here.
You can read Alice’s entire interview of Brian here.
See another My Modern Met post about Brian here.