Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Brian Dettmer

Dettmer's work involves the alteration of existing media - including older books, maps, record albums, cassette tapes, video tapes, and sound recordings - to transform the physical form and/or internal information to create new works of visual fine art. Dettmer explains: "When an object's intended function is fleeting, the necessity for a new approach to its form and content arises."

Books are also turned sort of skeletal as Dettmer has moved through medical guides, and other titles like Modern Medical Counselor and Textbook of Pathology, page by page, scalpel in hand, picking images and phrases and slicing away excess around them for several pages beyond. The words and pictures that remain overlap when the book is closed, forming brilliant slabs of 3-D collage.

"The first book piece I did was titled Alternate Route to Knowledge," Dettmer says of his history in book carving. "[This was] in 2001. I had stacked up a series of books randomly and carved a large hole into the top book and through all the books below... The concept behind the sculpture was a way of gaining knowledge through a more tactile, physical or nonconventional approach."

The altered books challenge not only the solidity of a book; by interrupting the linear structure to bring out hidden depths, they also create a new image for the body of medical knowledge. Three of the most dramatic are displayed on a stainless-steel gurney. Seeing books so beautifully mutilated is an upsetting and elevating experience.
-Time Out Chicago

More images at the Haydee Rovirosa Gallery and Marius' Flickr page.

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