Between The Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art
Ever contemplate a future where domestic bookcases, communal libraries, commercial bookstores, and hand-me-down schoolbooks will be things of the past and reading for most will become a digital experience? What will happen to all of the obsolete publications in print? For the artists in Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, found and mass-produced books are their expressive medium of choice. Viewing themselves as collaborators with their source material, they transform them into sculptures and installations of all sizes and shapes. Beyond exploiting physical and sensorial properties, the artists improvise with content, both text and image. In answer to the looming demise of the printed publication, the exhibition argues that in giving books new life as unique works of art, the artists are opening up fresh possibilities of meaning and relevance. Approaches range from folding, drilling, shredding, carving, stacking, ripping, sewing, pasting, burning, and sanding to collage and assemblage. In reshaping both subject and material, the artists repackage our personal attachment to the written text as a catalyst for memory and the imagination while rekindling our sensorial response to the book’s physicality. And as they draw attention to communal and personal associations of books and reading, they explore alternate ways to knowledge and history, the cycle of creation and decay, and the passage and compression of time. Between the Covers is exclusive to the Everhart Museum and is guest curated by Sarah Tanguy, a curator of ART in Embassies, US Department of State, as well as an independent curator and art critic based in Washington, DC.