June 15, 2012

Beautiful art carved out of books


A piece from Guy Laramee's Guan Yin series

Bibliophiles might find it painful to see books cut apart and rendered unreadable, but what if it’s for the sake of art? Design blog Colossal has posted a series of photos of artist Guy Laramee’s work, mostly from a new project called Guan Yin, in which he sculpts old books into beautifully detailed landscapes. The series, as Laramee puts it, is dedicated to “the mysterious forces thanks to which we can traverse ordeals.” It includes some really striking images, including a cave that cuts through a whole book from front to back cover, and individual pages that curl up to form the white water of a breaking wave. My favorite, though, is the image at the right, which uses what looks like star maps inside the cover of a huge book to create the illusion of a mountain against the night sky.

This isn’t the first project of Laramee’s to use books like this—Colossal posted another set of similar pieces of his last December, including a huge cave carved into a stack of five thick tomes—and he’s not the only one doing it either. Brian Dettmer, based in Atlanta, sculpts books into works of art as well; his website has galleries of pieces going back to 2005, although the way the two artists use the books is very different. Whereas Laramee reshapes them into landscapes, Dettmer manipulates the words and images on the pages to make them part of the work.

Dettmer’s work is on display at several galleries in the US and abroad, including Kinz + Tillou in New York, and Laramee’s Guan Yin series is on view at the Expression gallery in Saint-Hyachinthe, Quebec.

Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.