Friday, October 25, 2013

Master Sculptor Carves Up Books

Seeing art in person is always better than seeing it online.  Hearing Brian Dettmer speak about his work at this evening's opening was still more wonderful. 

An amazing sculptor who uses books as his material, he carves, cuts, and sands.  And in the detail of the piece seen above he also burned.  You couldn't really see how much of the unreadable text showed through the burn marks until you got close up. It is called "Emergency Exit" and is made up of 84 romance paperbacks in the shape of a door - a portal into a fictional world.

The show is called Elemental and will be at Haverford College's Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery until December 15th. image on the notice above is a detail of the over-life size tower made from Encyclopedia Britannicas seen below:

He says he works 40 - 60 hours a week in the studio. His work is so meticulous - I can totally imagine it.  Once he starts burrowing into the book he doesn't know what text or images he will find, and enjoys the random surprises.

As a Philadelphia Dumpster Diver, it gave me great pleasure to hear him say that as a kid he lived across the street from a school that would discard piles of books into a dumpster.  He and his brother would salvage them, not always to read them, but because he knew they held some value.  "I probably made my first altered book in the third grade."  And the rest is history....

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