No, really, what is a book? Is it a functional container of information? Of course not… because then how is it different from an e-reader?
It would be pointless to present you with a list of famous quotes about the incredible thing a book is. However most of the time our view is so fixed inside the book and its content that we forget to praise the very form itself, to use it as means of expression. And I’m not talking about its appearance but rather about the use of the whole book and the symbolism it carries as a base material for something completely different. And I’ve found that Guy Laramee has a most innovative point of view on this matter.
Although I’m fairly certain most of you have stumbled on his work here and there it was inevitable that I would devote a post about it.
Guy Laramee is kind of an “artist universalis”. The biography at his official site shows an impressive list of art fields in which he has been active, some 30 years now. Amongst his works can be found the book sculptures I share with you today.
I find the idea of using books to carve landscapes exquisite. A book -be it dictionary,literature or even a math book- takes you somewhere, whether that is a space where actions of logic happen, the mental reflection of a real location or just the abstract formation of an imaginary place. However thinking of using books to carve landscapes is a long way from actually doing it and that’s why the realization of it by Guy is even more so remarkable.
By his own word; ” I carve landscapes out of books and I paint romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS.”
By sacrificing the book’s functionality Guy manages to enlarge its meaning. The form of a book, the material aspect of it, is no longer simply a conveyer of ideas but stands forth and becomes the idea itself through transformation.
In the end one could say these are no less books than any other, if we are interested in what a book is and not just what it’s used for.