|Later a Myth Was Developed
|Artist / Creator
|Place of Publication
|Structure / Binding
|Book excavation. Framed behind glass in box-style dark wood frame.
|11 x 14 x 2.75 inches framed
|Signed & Numbered
An altered book or "book excavation" project by James Allen using an ornate, gilded spine, hard cover book titled The Progressive Reference Library, Volume VII, Sebatsian to Uzbeks. This 1930s volume features a leather-look cover that frames the carved pages revealing historical and botanical illustrations. The title of this piece derives from a series of lines of text that create a "found poem" on the upper left corner of the piece (see detail photo). James tells us, "In this excavation I strung together phrases from the encyclopedia like a game of telephone to create a garbled communication from the past. They ended up turning into a cryptic conspiracy poem trying to reveal an alternate history of man. Next to the word poem the space is filled with layers of wonderful illustrations. These come together to create an idyllic dream space full of natural splendors. I particularly enjoy the color quality of the inks and printing process used when this book was published during the 1930's." ABOUT BOOK EXCAVATIONS A book excavation is a sculptural work of art made by transforming various types of old books using precise cuts with a scalpel or knife, carving pages one by one until an astonishing new composition reveals itself. This almost surgical focus of dissecting books results in a wholly new object infused with a graphical history that evolves as the artist exposes each layer of the book while cutting around interesting images or text. For most artists working in this remarkable medium, the process is performed without pre-planning or mapping out the contents before cutting into the books pages and/or covers. Finished book excavations often appear as cross sections of the book, carved to create an alternate universe previously hidden between the covers.
Artist BioJames Allen was born in 1977 in Great Lakes, Illinois and currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. He earned a BFA from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2000. Allen's artwork is included in Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed published by Chronicle book (August 2013). His work was exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Museum in The Book Borrowers: Contemporary Artists Transforming the Book in 2009. He's also exhibited across the country in many cities including New York, Chicago, and Miami.