The Landscape of Books

Sometimes the sense of awe, magic, and wonder can come from looking at the ordinary in extraordinary ways. This is exactly what artist Guy Laramée does, and remarkably well.

"La Grande Bibliothèque"

My work. . . originates from the very idea that ultimate knowledge could very well be an erosion instead of an accumulation. The title of one of my pieces is “ All Ideas Look Alike”. Contemporary art seems to have forgotten that there is an exterior to the intellect. I want to examine thinking, not only “What” we think, but “That” we think.

These words are from Laramée, who, very much in keeping with this weeks unofficial theme, evokes that same sense of awe by forcing us to look at the very books that we love in a fundamentally different way. For most of us, our relationship with books is focused mostly on their content, on the written page. At times that love might extend to their covers, as books can often be as beautiful to look at as they are to read. But that’s normally as far outside of the book that we are willing to go. After all is said and done, we love our books for what they offers us; for the ideas they transmit, for all teach us, for the endless places we are taken to through their narratives. We love our books because they challenge us and force us to think and rethink. We love books because through them we can travel through time and space, we can take part in discourses that occurred centuries before we born, and we can visit places that as exotic as our imaginations allow.

Laramée, through his sculptural work, takes our relationship with books and turns it around, forcing us completely outside. After Laramée is through carving his inexplicably beautiful landscapes into the volumes, the books cease to be about what they contain, and are completely redefined for us.

So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.

Here are some images of his bibliolandscapes. Many more can be found here, on his site.

"Ryoanji"

"Grand Larousse"

"Longmen"

"Thoreau"

"Petra"

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9 thoughts on “The Landscape of Books

  1. “The world cannot be expressed, it can only be indicated by mosaics of juxtaposition, like objects abandoned in a hotel room, defined by negatives and absence.” — William S. Burroughs

  2. As you say, I am in ‘awe.’ I was scrolling through these and admiring the artistic quality, but when I got to the last image you posted I couldn’t help but think of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford at the end of Indian Jones and the Last Crusade.

  3. I am endlessly attracted to altered art and have tried a small bit of it myself but these are something more. Amazing.
    Thank you for the link. I can spend hours looking at his work

    • His work is pretty amazing. If you take some time looking through his site, his other work is also beautiful. I love how he, in a sense, rejected postmodernism and instead regards himself as the heir to the Romanticist movement with these gorgeous landscapes.

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