Friday, 10 June 2011

The Book Surgeon

"The destruction of a book is considered by many to be an act of sacrilege."

Brian Dettmer carves dozens of delicate sculptures by slicing through volumes of books that have been dumped in charity shops or antique bookstores. Each sculpture becomes a 3D collage which transforms the viewer's perception of the book. But Dettmer does something different: unlike a collage, nothing is stuck on to the page. Instead he carves around the images and words slotting in between the covers giving the old books a new chance of life.

Dettmer, also known as 'The Book Surgeon' describes his process as 'dissection.' Approaching the book as a body. He creates each piece by using tweezers, surgical tools, rulers. pliers, glue and a saw. By working in bright light Dettmer relies on the eye rather than any visual aids and each sculpture can be made in a week or up to a year. He begins the process by firstly sealing the book edges with glue to make it completely enclosed. Cutting into the surface of the book from the front, Dettmer exposes each letter while cutting around the images and words that he wants to retain. In the beginning, Dettmer focused on one book at a time, but in recent years he has become more ambitious, tackling sets of books to create the work he desires.

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