American artist Brian Dettmer uses the book as an object to cut apart and remake. Books are painstakingly sliced open, one page at a time, as if they were being dissected. Indeed Dettmer frequently uses anatomical textbooks, and the results are surgically precise as well as providing that disturbing surgical frisson of something being cruelly revealed and tenderly exposed. Books are fragmented into parts, into their individual words or pages, before being reassembled into complex sculptural narratives.
American Peoples from 2011 makes something like a carved altar-piece out of a vintage set of encyclopaedias. Each panel becomes a three-dimensional knowledge-space, and the eye wanders intently among all the obsolete scholarship. World Books from 2009 turns twenty conjoined encyclopaedias into a strangely lovely multilimbed book-creature. The Book of the Dead reimagines a scholarly reprint of an ancient Egyptian text as an Art Deco architectural sculpture.
Born in Chicago, Brian Dettmer now lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. His work is currently being exhibited in San Francisco at Toomey Tourell Fine Art.