Assembled from hundreds of cutout plants and animals from repurposed textbooks, artist Andrea Mastrovito created a striking installation where a colony of bats clings to the ceiling, a flight butterflies swarm the gallery walls, and all matter of insects, mamammals and plants intermingle across the floor. The sprawling artwork spans the realms of collage, diorama and trompe-l’œil and was inspired in part by H. G. Wells’ science fiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau. Titled The Island of Dr. Mastrovito and The Island of Dr. Mastrovito II the piece was first installed at Governors Island in New York back in 2010 and again last year in a different configuration at Mudac in Lausanne, Switzerland. Via the artist:
His starting points for this site-specific work are the two most common forms of home recreation—books and television. The title of his installation refers to H. G. Wells’ famous novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which the archetypal “mad” scientist experiments upon animals in order to give them human traits. In this “Island,” the artist substitutes himself for the doctor, trying to instill a new life into that which was once alive in a different way (books from paper, paper from wood, and wood from trees). Mastrovito imagines that the outside fauna take control of the abandoned house and become its proper inhabitants. Approximately 700 books were brought under the artist’s knife to cut out real-size images of animals. This trompe-l’oeil, or paper diorama, also suggests the strength of images, the infinite possibilities that knowledge—through books—can give us in order to create and re-create the world that we can only imagine.
You can see much more of Mastrovito’s work over on his website.
Sure, the Amazon Kindle might have dynamic font adjustments, and it can hold thousands of books, but can it do this? Printed in the late 16th century this small book from the National Library of Sweden is an example of sixfold dos-à-dos binding, where six books are conjoined into a single publication but can be read individually with the help of six perfectly placed clasps. This particular book was printed in Germany and like almost all books at the time is a religious devotional text. The National Library of Sweden has a fantastic photo collection of historical and rare books where you can find many more gems like this, and this, and this.
Update: And if you really like amazing old book discoveries, you should be following Erik Kwakkel, the Medieval book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who originally unearthed this story. (via Neatorama)
This fun set of paper books was created by Japanese graphic designer and architect Yusuke Oono who conceived the idea as a clever way to illustrate scenes from individual stories in three dimensions. The 40-panel books are laser cut from paper and assembled into a booklet that can be viewed page by page or fanned out as a sort of layered diorama of silhouettes. You can see dozens of additional views from each book right here. (via Enoqi)
In one of his most ambitious book sculptures to date artist Guy Laramée (previously here and here) created an homage to the printed Encyclopedia Britannica by transforming a 24-volume set into a sloping mountainous landscape. Titled Adieu, Laramée says the work was inspired in part by Encyclopedia Britannica’s announcement that after 244 years the would cease printing its iconic multi-volume book sets. The artist relied on his travels in Ecuador, Peru and Brazil to arrive at the final form carved into the book tops that gradually morphs from green mountains to grasslands and semi-desert prairies. Watch the video above by Sébastien Ventura to see the piece in detail, and you can also see more of Laramée’s recent work over at JHB Gallery.
For many, reading a good book can be a religious experience, but this new bookstore in Zwolle, The Netherlands takes that idea to a whole new level. Architects BK. Architecten were tasked with converting this 15th century Dominican church into a modern bookstore with the addition of 700 square meters of shopping space. But there was one major catch: all the historical elements of the 547-year-old building including stained glass windows, pipe organ, ceiling paintings and expansive arches had to remain intact.
Incredibly, BK. Architecten managed to add three levels of retail space to the side wings of the church in a manner that the entire structure can one day be removed in order to restore the church to its original design. In addition only three colors of building materials were used to mimic the existing palette of the cathedral’s interior to further ensure that the bookstore would pay reverence to the original space.
Born in Tokyo, Dusseldorf-based artist Ramon Todo creates beautiful textural juxtapositions using layers of glass in unexpected places. Starting with various stones, volcanic rock, fragments of the Berlin wall, and even books, the artist inserts perfectly cut glass fragments that seem to slice through the object resulting in segments of translucence where you would least expect it. You can see more of his work over on Art Front Gallery, and here. (via My Amp Goes to 11)
Five years ago graphic artist and illustration Marion Bataille took the pop-up book world by storm with her incredible ABC 3D book. Bataille is back this month with a new book titled Numero, a brief but no less charming visual excursion into numbers. The new pop-up book is available October 15th but you can pre-order it online now. (via Cool Hunting)
There are those of us who regard LEGO bricks as a nostalgic toy from childhood, while others might still occasionally assemble kits as a hobby or perhaps as a way to bond with children. And then there are the select few who have an unwavering obsession with the tiny plastic bricks, who fiddle endlessly to find the perfect block to create sculptural objects so exquisitely designed, that it becomes art.
LEGO artist Mike Doyle (previously here and here) collected some of the most amazing people working with LEGO today in his new book Beautiful LEGO from No Starch Press. The 280 page book is filled with some 400 photos of LEGO creations from over 70 artists, and seems to be the most thorough book on LEGO art ever written. You can take a peek inside over on Mike’s blog, and although it’s not published until October 7th, you can preorder it now. All photos above reproduced from Beautiful LEGO, with the permission of No Starch Press.