Brian Dettmer’s Book Autopsies


Artist Brian Dettmer carves up books to reveal their essence in sculptural form. Under his surgery, sales an anatomical reference book becomes a shadowbox of elegant bones; the overwhelming complexity of an encyclopedia manifests itself as a busy, diagrammatic universe of multi-tiered images and words. The book content, sliced into intersecting overlays, begins to resemble a busy highway as seen from above. Relationships between different parts of the book become exposed in an ever-circulating pattern. These sculptures amplify the sensuality of holding a book a hundred times over. This idea of paper-fetish ties in strongly with why we feel the need to publish Coilhouse in printed form. Clicking on blogs is fun, but nothing beats the feeling of turning a crisp page. [via ashiikankwe]


9 Responses to “Brian Dettmer’s Book Autopsies”

  1. gooby Says:

    Yowza! Fun concept, I’d love to animate those things, be an interesting narrative.

  2. Zoetica Says:

    Lovely, I could almost smell the old paper. Mmmm.

  3. Mer Says:

    Incredible. This certainly does inflame my paper fetish.

  4. D Says:

    Brilliant idea. Love seeing those images (but personally I could never do that to a book). A world between the covers.

  5. Paul Komoda Says:

    Those pieces are fascinating, not just for the way they look, but for the single-minded devotion that Dettmer brings to their de-construction and re-construction.

    The idea of books as art objects reminds me of the series of works by
    Martin Schwarz that I had seen displayed at the Giger Museum a few years ago. He had taken actual books and infused them with burgeoning outgrowths of crystal, seashells, and in one case, baby taxidermist crocodiles.
    Here’s a link to some images( the crocs are not included, oddly):

  6. Mer Says:

    Paul, holy crap, those are incredible. So, so sad I didn’t get to go to the Giger Museum while I was in Switzerland last fall. My traveling companions just weren’t into it. I should have rented a car and gone by myself.

  7. Laura Gardner Says:

    Ive seen some modified books before, but this is truely amazing.

  8. Tequila Says:

    You can almost taste the pulp…great idea that goes beyond a typical gimmick. Great sense of design there, can’t say I’ve seen the idea taken to this level of intricacy before. What’s great about this is that you NEED to have work like this in the physical world…cause digitally it’d just come off as a glorified colage or a really cool heavily layered Photoshop file.

    These two are particularly impressive:

  9. australiadog Says:

    and climb with box And grapes, pretty that and saw acorns I grew the vast other things it’s name I didn’t are all Forest. and went to my parents