Negative (book) space

A Friday morning find courtesy of ‘My Modern Met’…this time the book sculptures of Australian artist Kylie Stillman. She re-adapts the pages of books by turning them into ‘towers of texts’, book sculptures, collectively stacked where she then carves out negative spaces to leave silhouettes of different aspects of nature such as trees and bird. They can be seen as “reverse sculptures” where the primary subject is omitted from the solid structure whose negative space remains intact. Illusionary, clever and incredibly distinct. Additionally, Stillman‘s book sculptures seem to create a sort of irony that alludes to whence it came from…the creation of paper and books from trees and nature itself. As I was reading though some text as regards Stillman‘s practice there was a beautiful paragraph by Simon Gregg, Curator at the Gippsland Art Gallery.

“The anonymous volumes of text become blocks of marble that are fastidiously fashioned into art objects, by exercising a process of selective reduction. Reborn, the books achieve a clarity of expression that transcends the printed language held therein. Stillman decommissions books from their everyday use, denuding them of their intended purpose. Her works reappraise found and everyday materials with a view to investigating their visual appearance and conceptual possibilities….The weight of information that surrounds us in the contemporary world can be crippling. If the cumulative data we are obliged to process through the internet were translated into printed form, it would amount to literal towers of text; insurmountable peaks whose essential meaning had become buried in swathes of opaque, indecipherable symbols. Up until very recently the only means by which this data could travel was in the printed page. Men built places of worship for accumulations of these pages – called libraries – where we could be surrounded by these curious vessels of communication: books. While the book is still with us, its days are numbered. Already we detect the aroma of old-worldliness when handling these archaic objects, which can impress their potential for wonder and knowledge upon us before even the first page is turned.” – Simon Gregg

I wish the interior walls of my house were made from books…where spaces and furniture are carved out from the books’ guts so I can reside, hide, sleep, dream and even read within their voids….to live inside their voids, inside the books, their pages…ultimately in their stories, which for everyone except the artist, will remain unknown as the books are forced to be closed, pages never to be seen. I want to live (with)in words…but I do already right?

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