Given as an assignment to a first year studio foundation art class, students were challenged to consider the function of the book and encouraged to rethink its form as sculptural object. Additionally, the students were inspired by viewing some of the diverse forms of one-of-a- kind and limited edition artists’ books housed at the Dodd Research Center.

As an art project, altering a book page is a daunting concept; reconstructing and altering the whole book is a serious challenge.  First, one is confronted with the notion that through a seemingly destructive act, beauty and new art form can be constructed. Even when using cast-off books, that are about to be destroyed, one is faced with a rather unnerving sensation when beginning this process.

Through a series of transformative gestures and repetitive actions such as folding, cutting, scoring, curling, punching, incising and shredding, the function of book as object of information is transformed into structure, sculpture. These repetitive acts, to the point of exaggeration, have created new and startling physical shapes that we take notice of first. For some of the creators, the book’s title helped prompt an action informing us of the book’s potential content.  For others, a singular process took shape without considering the book’s original intention. Irony, wit, poetic reference, and obsessive gesture push the book’s singular recognizable form into a new physical shape. Some of the pages turn, but the text is not the text of legibility. Others offer the viewer a window into the process of alteration. 

Selections from First Year Studio Foundation Course Fall 2010, Professor Deborah Dancy.  Exhibitors: Brooke Bernegger, Taylor Byrne, Brandon Campbell, Emily Campbell, Gina Croteau, Rachel Eldracher, Kelsey McKissick, Alyssa Naim, Ruth Reinwald, Natalie Sequeira, Celine St. Pierre

Book As Sculpture
April 1-30, 2011, Monday-Friday 10-4
Dodd Research Center
John P. McDonald Reading Room

Kristin Eshelman, Curator of Multimedia Collections