For centuries books have contained and presented the written words that have allowed humankind to study and interpret the world. Although the role of books is being aggressively questioned in our digital age, they continue to be objects of desire with an allure that goes far beyond their commercial value.
Given this medium’s persistent evolution over time, it should come as no surprise that the book has come to be a focus for many artists around the world. As texts have become readily available through different media, contemporary artists have been increasingly exploring the interplay between the function, structure, and format of books—often literally deconstructing them using scalpels and knives.
Book Art is a stunning 220-page documentation of current art, installation, and design created with and from books. The work is as diverse as books themselves: in some, sentences are cut and peeled out to create new contexts and more fluid meanings for narratives; in others, old printed pages are wound into threads which are then bound together into delicate objects, pieces of art that take months to make; in still others, the shapes of books are returned to the organic matter from which the paper they are printed on first came.
The fascinating range of examples in Book Art is eloquent proof that—despite or because of digital media’s inroads as sources of text information—the book’s legacy as a carrier of ideas and communication is being expanded today in the creative realm.