Brian Dettmer: Textidermy.

While looking at Georgia Russell, I discovered another book-art fanatic, Brian Dettmer. However instead of tearing up pages to make completely new sculptures, Dettmer uses the texts’ existing words and images to tell new stories, create complex illustrations and to make strong statements.

“The completed pieces expose new relationships of a book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.” – Dettmer

Dettmer describes his practise as “reading with a knife”: when he starts cutting through the pages he has no idea what he’ll come to so he decides upon his story and composition whilst he works.  This above image is a mechanical book from the 1940s and through isolating particular words and phrases Dettmer has transformed the clinical, instructive language into poetic lines and verses, carefully illustrating these with pieces of the existing mechanical diagrams.

Here’s a sneek peek inside his studio: Dettmer seals the edges of his books before using surgical tools to dissect each volume, slowly revealing words and images to form his intricate drawings and statements.

…so that’s how he does is, here’s the man himself explaining why

I’m at home this weekend so surrounded by bookcases, which are suddenly beginning to look rather a lot more interesting – hacking up Mother’s books, the perfect procrastination technique to avoid making my website. Hrmmm…


– Tracey Emin on a good day.


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