Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brian Dettmer, Book Dissections

I was at the Brooklyn flea market in the Williamsburg Savings Bank building the other day, looking through piles of prints for sale. I couldn't help but feel as though I was raking the coals after some book burning. All these wonderful antique books had been cut open because I assume you can make more money from the parts than from the sum.

Here's a guy who throws that on it's head. Brian Dettmer has been cutting apart books for years, yet they add up to a lot more once he's done with them.

Here's what he has to say about Book Dissections:

"In this work I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. I cut into the cover of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and other surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each page while cutting around ideas and images of interest. Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose a book’s hidden, fragmented memory. The completed pieces expose new relationships of a book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception."


  1. Hey Alan,
    Nice blog! I'm enjoying reading through it. Funnily enough, we were also at Brooklyn Flea last weekend. Nothing fit in our budget, alas.

  2. That was my first time in the building. What a place. Those 4' thick vault doors were nuts! I imagined this tiny little key.

  3. wow, amazing! and i was having a hard time making a simple niche in my altered book project, LOL!