Sunday, May 22, 2011

Brian Dettmer


The unique, intricate, and extraordinary work of artist Brian Dettmer is now on display at Kinz + Tillou Fine Art in NYC. His exhibition opened on May 19th and runs to June 11. Dettmer's unique style involves carving into and through the pages of books to create dimensional sculpture. His books have been referred to as 'autopsies' and for good reason -- he cuts through the surface, revealing the insides of each book in a completly and utterly fascinating way. As amazing as these piece are in pictures, seeing them in person elevates the creative experience to another level.

According to Dettmer's artist statement, "Through meticulous excavation or concise alteration I edit or dissect communicative objects or systems such as books, maps, tapes or other media. The medium's role transforms. Its content is recontextualized and new meanings or interpretations emerge. In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating and enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the surface of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories."

You can see Dettmer speaking about his process in the following video:




This is a must-see exhibition but for those of you who live too far away I have included some images I shot at the gallery. Click on each to enlarge to be better able to see the intricate detail of Dettmer's work.












26 comments:

MrCachet said...

Within the past year I came across ANOTHER source for Brian's work, and I'm going to have to do some excavating of my own to come up with the web address for it. When I first saw these last year I was dumbfounded, but quickly came to the realization that the man does perform surgery in a very real sense. Phenomenal.

MrCachet said...

I have a question, since you've seen these up close and personal: One of the images shows what appears to be 4 cylinders, and below it a close up of one of them. What are they? Even the closeup does not give me an idea of the original form.

amyd said...

mind-boggling to say the least - the patience and insight required is astonding!

Shayla said...

impressive!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I've seen a couple of Dettmer's pieces before on a web site, but this opens up a new and fascinating insight into his art. The stacked pieces are so different and unique from anything I have seen before. I'm always impressed by what he does. And to think you got to see it up close and personal. How grand!

Anonymous said...

pure genius, never heard of this artist before, thank you for sharing the photos, part of the attraction is in the wondering of how he did it, makes me want to try something like this just to understand it more.

urbandon (Don Pezzano) said...

Wow! These are amazing pieces. Pure genius.

Laura said...

Amazing...I saw an exhibit at the Michael Koler Museum in Wisconson with book sculptures like this, truly amazing in person to see this. Thanks for sharing Seth

Luthien said...

wow!!! CRAZY AMAZING!! how can one's mind come up something like this? this is the work of a genius!!

*jean* said...

sooo cool! thanks for sharing...

Karin Bartimole said...

I will definitely try to get to this show Seth - thank you for sharing it with us. I've seen one of Brian's pieces in person and was completely blown away - so to see a full show would be amazing! Great photos!! thank you thank you :)

Bill said...

Totally awesome. Wow!

Lynn said...

What an amazing concept and creation(s)...wow! Thanks for sharing so much. I really enjoyed the video as well...clever how he did that too.

Debrina said...

Oh you lucky soul to be able to see all this up close and personal! My sister Keryn just came back from NYC and I was green with envy when she said she was going without me :-( (well actually, the truth is, she won an all expenses paid holiday and had to take her souse, of course!). Anyway, if I were there I'd be linking in to see all this amazing stuff!!

Parabolic Muse said...

Yeah. This guy has me swooning every time. I tried once to do this and I epoxied my knife to the pages and couldn't get it out.

Thanks for these pictures! It's always nice to see more work, and some of these are new to me! I apparently will never get to NYC or see anything neato there. I'm probably okay with it sort of.

La Dolce Vita said...

oh... you are so lucky to see his work in PERSON!! I am drooling with envy.... unbelieveable... thanks for shooting it for us..

Dave said...

These are incredible! The patience and vision involved much less the finished product shows so much talent!!

femminismo said...

If I had wings I would be in NYC in, well, a New York minute! This work is absolutely fabulous. And I would have missed it entirely if not for you. Thanks!

Heavens2Betsy said...

These works are exquisite and jaw-droppingly awe inspiring. I am so grateful for your introduction to them. penny

Clare said...

takes altered books to a whole new level - absolutely amazing.

Marie said...

I have seen Dettmer's work on the net & I think of him as the Master of Altered Books. I would so love to see his work in person.
Thanks so much for sharing the photos, but especially the film, really enjoyed hearing him talk about his process. What a treat!

alteredbits said...

i read this post yesterday morning and watched the video. i have been a long admirer of brian's work -- i spent so much time just looking at those amazing photos of his mind-blowing work that i totally lost track of time. love moments like that! so today i am back to thank you for such a magnificent post.

how very lucky you are to see this all up close and personal! i'm so flying to NYC soon. i feel out of the loop on this side of the country sometimes.

Robert said...

Thanks for sharing Brian Dettmer's work, Seth. Absolutely wonderful stuff. You bring NYC a little closer to the West Coast!

rivergardenstudio said...

What an amazing show that you got to see in person, the details that Brian Dettmer puts into his work is awesome and it is so hard to imagine where he begins or ends each piece. Thanks for sharing this... you live in the perfect place for art! roxanne

Stephanie said...

Thank you! for sharing this work with. Amazing, I wish I could get up close to these in person...your images help, but I hope this show might travel west someday.

thanks!

Gillian McMurray said...

Gobsmacked! It's the only word I can think of to describe how I feel about these pieces. What an amazing artist.