April 27th, 2012
You may have seen some of Brian Dettmer’s work on the internet. He does amazing things with books. He cuts, carves, bends, folds, rolls, and glues books into new sculptural, unimagined shapes. He alters books such as dated reference books to intricately carved statements, providing a look into the book beyond what we normally see.
Recently, the Jen Library purchased one of Dettmer’s altered books, titled Geomorphology. According to Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged (found online), Geomorphology is the branch of geology that is concerned with the structure, origin, and development of the topographical features of the earth’s surface.
Brian Dettmer was born in 1974 and raised in Naperville, Illinois. He earned a BA in fine arts from Columbia College Chicago in 1997. Following graduation, he worked as and artist and and graphic designer in the Chicago area. In 2006, Dettmer moved with his wife to establish a studio in Atlanta. Design Boom took a look at his studio in 2009.
Explanation of Process
In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the surface of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories. 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. (Source)
For a look at more of Dettmer’s work, please visit his website.