Recently I’ve become interested in the use of words in art. Yesterday I came across an article on the Publishing Perspectives website about books used in art.
The article is about The Center for Book Arts in New York which promotes the use of the book as art object. It talks about how even though we hear so much about the ‘death of the book’ in this digital age, books are far from disappearing from art. I work in publishing and most of my work is in publishing academic texts online. However, I don’t think books will die out just yet (if at all). I love books. I still read books. What I read in books influences my art.
Books can be used as sculpture material. Artist, Su Blackwell, uses the book as her material to create fairy-tale-like sculptures.
Mike Stilkey uses piles of abandoned old library books as his canvas, painting on their spines and using their textures to help create an image.
Paul Octavious has used books to write words and numbers with. The result is simple and very effective I think. The sculpture has a sense of instability about it, yet it is very calming too.
There are a few organisations that aim to promote and develop book art, such as Liverpool Book Art, which recently held an exhibition of artworks using the book as inspiration and material.
This below is my favourite example of book art. Artist Stefana McClure cut the text of Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in strips, stuck them together and wound them into a ball. This is so simple. This is one of my favourite books of all time so I love it. She uses the text from books and films as much of her material in her practice. She states in an interview with qu.ee/r Magazine: ‘I choose texts and films that I am drawn to and want to spend time with. Favorite writers include George Perec whose work was dominated by the use of “constraints” and Gertrude Stein who reveled in repetition.’ She describes Murakami’s book as a complete world onto itself, so that is why she wound it up into a globe-like shape.
I think this is an area I’d like to explore further. I wonder if there are any books about this subject.
‘The Book as Art, Art as The Book’, 14 August 2014, Publishing Perspectives. Available from http://publishingperspectives.com/2014/08/the-book-as-art-art-as-the-book/ [last accessed 17 August 2014]
Bauch, C., 14 December 2010, ’10 Visual Artists Who Use Books as Their Medium’ Flavourwire. Available from http://flavorwire.com/136196/books-as-visual-art [last accessed 17 August 2014]
Interview with Stefana McClure in qu.ee/r Magazine. Available from http://www.qu.ee/an-interview-with-stefana-mcclure/ [last accessed 17 August 2014]