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Artists Who Slice Up Books
November 6, 2006 11:58 PM   Subscribe

Su Blackwell, Thomas Allen & Abelardo Morell are artists who cut up books and then photograph the interesting, whimsical & gorgeous results.
posted by jonson (19 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is absolutely some of the most gorgeous art I've seen in ages. Thanks for this stuff, jonson.

(I linked Morell here a couple of months ago, btw.)
posted by mediareport at 12:30 AM on November 7, 2006


hah! I searched for Allen & Blackwell but not Morell. In fact, it was in the search results of an old AskMe that I found Morell. That'll teach me...
posted by jonson at 12:31 AM on November 7, 2006


The David and Goliath one is just BEAUTIFUL. Thanks for posting this.
posted by bunglin jones at 1:17 AM on November 7, 2006


Those are fantastic. Reminds me of an artist who's work I saw in Seoul, who makes amazing 3D sculptures out of single letter-sized sheets of white paper.
posted by Brittanie at 4:31 AM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I've been waiting for this post ever since your related AskMe, jonson. thank you!
posted by carsonb at 5:04 AM on November 7, 2006


Thomas J. Allen "photographs books, but does so in a way that's never been done before—by selectively cutting out the figures on their covers and interior pages with surgical precision and setting them up in compositions, bringing them into the third dimension. It's as if the characters have suddenly woken up, that what's happening to them is so intense and vivid it can't be contained"
-- Chip Kidd
posted by matteo at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2006


For Thomas Allen's stuff, is the artwork intended to be the sculpture, or the photograph? Because some of those images are so perfect, I imagine that seeing the work in the round might be something of a letdown.
posted by Leon at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2006


And matteo had already answered my question. Never mind.
posted by Leon at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2006


Wow. I was looking at Su Blackwell again just yesterday. Hadn't heard of Morell yet.

Thanks jonson!
posted by ClarissaWAM at 6:30 AM on November 7, 2006


Wow!

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"? - yesss!

"Joy of Sex" - Noooooooo!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:07 AM on November 7, 2006


Excellent.
posted by OmieWise at 7:39 AM on November 7, 2006


The current issue of Zoetrope magazine is entirely illustrated by many of Allen's photos. The issue was designed by Chip Kidd.
posted by JBennett at 8:01 AM on November 7, 2006


Thanks, JBennett!
posted by jonson at 9:11 AM on November 7, 2006


In somewhat the same vein, check out Barbara Szerlip's gorgeous "book sculptures".
posted by Bureau of Public Secrets at 9:33 AM on November 7, 2006


Absolutely stunning art. I was aware of Thomas Allen's work and have the current issue of Zoetrope with all of his work, but didn't know about the other two artists. Thanks so much for posting this.
posted by mijuta at 10:43 AM on November 7, 2006


I'm torn. I do admit the Blackwell stuff is pretty, yes. But as a book-o-phile (will others agree?) cutting up books for any reason, even art, is a bit sacrilege. That is, its beautiful in the way taxidermy is beautiful - you have to forget that its a corpse.
posted by vacapinta at 12:40 PM on November 7, 2006


cutting up books for any reason, even art, is a bit sacrilege

It's even worse for me. As a Hindu, I was brought up with the notion that paper is sacred (we have a goddess of learning and knowledge (ie Saraswati) And ont he festical day for Saraswati, we actually perform prayers to books), and even now if I accidentally step on the newspaper, I cringe. But this stuff is beautiful...hmm.
posted by dhruva at 3:32 PM on November 7, 2006


But as a book-o-phile (will others agree?) cutting up books for any reason, even art, is a bit sacrilege.

Well, as a book-o-phile *and* a bookseller who sees books in all kinds of awful states, I don't share your particular sense of the pristine sacred. Books are beautiful sacred objects, yes, but sometimes they're beautiful sacred objects that are made even more beautiful by being turned into something else just as beautiful and sacred: Art.

Let go of the "books must only be enjoyed in their original state" mindset and you open yourself up to all sorts of wonderful collages, revisings and openings of the notion of bookness.
posted by mediareport at 10:00 PM on November 7, 2006





posted by sergeant sandwich at 12:25 AM on December 4, 2006


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