Landscapes Carved into Books: Artist Guy Laramee

January 7, 2012

See the post for links.

My friend Tom found a profile of artist Guy Laramee showing altered books from his Great Wall and Biblos series. Go check out the amazing work today and read about the artist. I would love to see these in person.

    • Marsha Micek
    • January 7, 2012

    Did you click through to Dettmer?? It, too, is amazing.

  1. Reply

    Marsha, I’ve been familiar with Dettmer and posted about him when I first started blogging so I didn’t think to mention him. His work is amazing. I’m glad you mentioned him.

    • Louise
    • January 7, 2012

    I have to think a little more about this work and my reaction to it. For some reason, carving the books bothers me. While I can appreciate the genius and the skill, it strikes me as a mutilation of a writer’s body of work regardless of how the artist tries to conceptualize and rationalize what he is doing. I’m probably off by myself with this reaction. I hope others will post their thoughts. I found myself more intrigued with Dettmer’s work. I have some old books, including an old set of encyclopedia. I would not want this done to them …. ever.

  2. Reply

    Louise you aren’t alone in this opinion and I’m glad you said something. I know many people who share this view. I admit that before I started altering books I had a problem with it myself, but it was a matter of using a book I had around or letting it go to recycling, so I recycled it myself. I also really enjoy working on preprinted pages esp. if there is text.

    How does this square with my love of books and writing? It’s an uneasy situation some days. I think there are some books that are so awful they deserve to be altered and their very existence cries out for a humorous or satiric run at them to transform them.

    I woudn’t do it to fine or rare editions, but that’s splitting hairs.

    I also see quite a lot of this in the local artworld so it is not as startling to me… which perhaps is only more evidence that it is a slippery slope.

    But art often cannibalizes other things so in another way I’m totally OK with “Nature red in tooth and claw” coming also to art.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts so clearly on this. I think it will help others think about the issue.

    • Sheryl C
    • January 8, 2012

    I too am disquieted at the “mutilation”, but fascinated with the incredible sculpting. I agree with the comment by Louise, Mr. Laramee’s artistic intention and repurposing the volumes deserves more thoughtful consideration.

  3. Reply

    I agree with Louise. I struggle with repurposed book art. I am always grieved by the destruction of the original book, even when I’m enchanted by the results.

    There is a story about how the Yiddish Book Center started, when founder Aaron Lansky “stumbled upon an alarming fact: thousands of priceless Yiddish books – books that had survived Hitler and Stalin – were being discarded and destroyed. As an older generation passed on, their Jewish volumes were often thrown in the trash by children and grandchildren unable to read the language. An entire literature was on the verge of extinction.”

    What we think is useless today may not be useless tomorrow. So I hope that book artists choose carefully what books they destroy (and that we all think carefully about what books we recycle.)

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