The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art – College of Charleston

Check out this exhibition bringing together the work of some of the most famous artists who alter books.


REBOUND | Dissections and Excavations in Book Art
Curated by Karen Ann Myers

Gallery Walk-through with the artists
Thursday May 23, 5-6pm
Halsey galleries, Cato Center for the Arts, 161 Calhoun Street

Opening Receptions
Thursday May 23, 6-8pm
Halsey galleries, Cato Center for the Arts, 161 Calhoun Street
AND Rotunda, Addlestone Library, 205 Calhoun

After-party with Rebound Artists
Thursday May 23, 8-10pm
This party is for Post-Modernist Members and above
To learn more, contact Halsey Institute Membership Coordinator Emily Rigsby,

Exhibition on View
May 23 – July 6, 2013

All events are free and open to the public

Increasingly, contemporary artists have been exploring the interplay among the function, structure, and format of books. Curated by Halsey Institute assistant director, Karen Ann Myers, Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book Art brings together the work of five mixed-media artists from around the world who, using books as a point of departure, sculpt, scrape, bend, and carve to create astonishing compositions. Doug Beube, Long-Bin Chen, Brian Dettmer, Guy Laramée, and Francesca Pastine transform various types of literature and/or printed books through sculptural intervention. Despite the individual and exclusive perspective of each artist, there are remarkable connections in the themes and ideas they respectively mourn and celebrate. The fascinating range of examples, as diverse as books themselves, offers eloquent proof that-despite or because of the advance of digital media for sources of information-the book’s legacy as a carrier of ideas and communication is being expanded today.

Rebound: Dissections and Excavations in Book Art is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. This project is sponsored by BiblioLabs and is a featured presentation of the Spoleto Festival USA.

Doug Beube looks at the book like an inter-connecting block of wood. The codex, which, in Latin, literally means wooden block, is undeviating in its essential form and undeniably limited in its capacity to store and generate information. Theoretically and physically, he excavates the book, as if the text block itself is an archaeological site.

Beube uncovers internal layers and exploits the inflexibility of the codex. By altering the book’s inevitable course, we are forced to read non-linearly. When Beube interacts with books, sometimes their words are readable, sometimes their shapes are recognizable, but in every case they are transformed into sculpture. Through the use of various power tools, the pages and text of the altered book are reconfigured into abstract forms.

Brian Dettmer begins with an existing book and seals its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential. Using knives, tweezers, pliers, and surgical instruments as his equipment, he carves one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest.

Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Dettmer cannot control what is on the pages, but he can control how he reacts to it. The completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements, exactly where they have been since their original conception.

Guy Laramée begins with vintage books and transforms them into stunning landscapes. He is attracted to the timeless qualities of nature. There is a spiritual element to his ideas and approach, and it is reflected in the contemplative serenity of his altered books. His work originates from the concept that one gains true knowledge through erosion, not accretion. Laramée’s work is about making us feel more alive.

It is about feeling this incredible force that won’t stop after your body dies-that will keep inventing new forms, new species, new opportunities. It is about opening your eyes, as if for the first time. It is about losing yourself in the landscape and, paradoxically, finding that you are the source of it all.

Francesca Pastine creates beautiful sculptural interventions using Artforum magazines as her medium-familiar fixtures in many galleries and artists’ homes. Starting with the covers, she cuts, bends, manipulates, pulls, and digs her way through, revealing a visceral topography of art trends. Foregoing any use of glue, wires, or staples, she lets each arrangement stand on its own. Her X-Acto blade mimics a pencil, but subtracts rather than adds. Her carvings form colorful sculptural pieces that seem to melt down the wall as each page folds onto itself.

The finished work becomes an unsolicited collaboration with the magazine and the cover artist. By recontextualizing and subverting the content, Pastine has inserted herself into the larger global narrative.

The Halsey Institute has commissioned Rebound artist, Long-Bin Chen, to create a site-specific sculptural work that will be on view in the Sanders Rotunda of the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library concurrent with the exhibition within the Halsey Institute galleries, May 23 – July 6, 2013. Chen will create the work during a residency May 1 – 23.

Long-Bin Chen explores different cultural meanings, and seeks to combine ideas and concepts from the East with those of the West. He chooses to work with local printed material from the communities in which he is an artist-in-residence, including telephone books, magazines, and other cultural debris of our information society. At first glance, the sculptures appear to be stonework, and most viewers are surprised to learn that Chen’s sculptures are soft and made from paper.

For the installation at the Addlestone Library, Chen will create a Zen Garden, using books from the Charleston community. The Friends of the Library at the College of Charleston are sponsors of Long-Bin Chen’s residency and installation.


About slnorquay

Artist who is interested in writing and pictures.
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