The best thing about the internet is how often you find cool stuff you didn’t know existed before some random post or link takes you deep into a site you might never have other wise stumbled upon. The Library of the Infinitesimally Small and Unimaginably Large is an ongoing art project, created by Barbara Wildenboer, a South African artist whose work I tripped over via a link from Colossal.
The altered books are made from found books, particularly old books of maps and atlases. The books become both reference and raw material for sculptures, paper installations and digital animation. The books, sentences, words and letters become elements of a new visual narrative in which the old and new forms co-exist. Through the act of altering books and other paper based objects the intention is to draw emphasis to our understanding of history as mediated through text or language and our understanding of the abstract terms of science through metaphor.
The artwork, crafted from strips of printed paper arranged about the spines and covers of antique books, presents the book as nervous system or cognitive map, as bodily organ or angelic wings. The words are scrambled, released from meaning, and the image they are reshaped to form invites interpretation. They make for beautiful images on a screen, I can only imagine how much more striking they are as actual, physical objects.
In the current climate of publishing, where publishers are increasingly making the physical book into an object of beauty in response to ubiquity of the ebook, it is only right that the book itself should increasingly become a subject AND medium artists turn too. These are not the first ‘book sculptures’ I have seen online, though they are some of the most striking.
Is there any other book related art out there that I need to know about? Suggestions in the comments thread, if you please.