Throughout history writers have connected us to new experiences, people and ideas with books that enrich, enlighten, educate, romance, uplift, devastate and distract. Brian Dettmer’s altered book sculptures are meant for the same curious sort who dares to pick up a book and be transported to another place. Full of intrigue and mystery, Dettmer’s carved books are as layered and complex as the characters in a good story.
Full Set of Funk, altered set of encyclopedias, 9.5″ x 66″ x 6″
Standard American, altered vintage encyclopedia set , 9.25″ x 26″ x 9.5″
Standard American, detail
Packer Schopf Gallery describes Dettmer’s work as “sculptural subtraction.” The artist, adept at uncovering secrets, exposing hiding places and revealing beauty, conveys old messages in new ways. By ‘taking away’ – carefully removing pieces and parts of a book’s pages with scalpel and tweezers – he alters our perception and accomplishes the unthinkable: Brian Dettmer creates new connections.
New Books of Knowledge, altered set of encyclopedias, 16″ x 26.5″ x 10″
New Books of Knowledge, top view
New Books of Knowledge, detail
In the video below, listen to the artist talk about his work, including an explanation of how he created his new, animated sculptures. If you want to know more about his process read this BPM Magazine article.
For Brian Dettmer’s most recent work, visit his Flickr site. Even more at Toomey Tourell Fine Art. And books aren’t the only thing he alters. His altered cassette tape skulls are scary. More work-in-progress studio shots here.
Books being prepped in the artist’s studio
Kingdom, altered book, 9 5/8″ x 10.75″ x 9.75″
Many thanks to Seth Savarick to thank for letting us know about this fascinating work.