Message in a Bottle
Art Books/Book Arts

Delayed by delightful events, it’s here at last: a new post highlighting art from around the world that incorporates books as objects. 

Alicia Martín is a Madrid-based installation artist who’s been described as “book-obsessed.” She operates on a grand scale, and her work tends to emphasize the untrammeled power that books possess, especially when they band together. 

You can see more images online via her gallery.

Guy Laramee’s sculptures don’t take up quite as much room as the cascade above, but they suggest far larger processes geological in scope. As he puts it, “The erosion of cultures—and of ‘culture’ as a whole—is the theme that runs through the last 25 years of my artistic practice.” Stacks of accumulated knowledge seem to be organically weathered, sandblasted by time until they’re almost completely transformed.

It’s hard to say whether the message his art sends is about the noble futility of human achievement or about the unintended residue of it that will outlast the natural world. A portfolio of Laramee’s work, some of which was exhibited in 2009 at the Bellevue Art Museum, is available on his own website.

Fellow Canadian Joel Robinson’s digitally altered photographs may lack gravitas in comparison, but make up for it with extra whimsy. It’s refreshing to see state-of-the-art visual technology used to promote a more traditional medium.

Robinson sells affordable prints through his own Etsy storefront

Down in Argentina, Raul Lemesoff took a 1979 Ford Falcon, the same model that formerly served his country’s armed forces, and converted it into a Weapon of Mass Instruction. He uses it to distribute free books to people on the streets of Buenos Aires and other cities and towns across the nation.

You can see his awesome machine in action in this video, contributing to “peace through literature.” In one important respect, Lemesoff’s treatment of his subject is superior to that of the other artists presented here: the observer can access the content of many of these books. The best book-related art is still between the covers, after all.

—James

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