Brian Dettmer is a New York-based artist who uses surgical tools to sculpt into vintage books, turning them into innovative and detailed paper sculptures.
With surgical precision, the artist cuts around the words and images he finds interesting, and sometimes he even stacks multiple books – and the end result is breathtakingly intricate. “I begin with an existing book and seal its edges, creating an enclosed vessel full of unearthed potential,” says Brian. “I cut into the surface of the book and dissect through it from the front. I work with knives, tweezers and surgical tools to carve one page at a time, exposing each layer while cutting around ideas and images of interest.”
When his work is done, the original book might be unrecognizable in its physical form, but it will still tell the same story as it did in the first place. Brian doesn’t add anything extraneous to the original book, but bends it, folds it and cuts around it so that the actual content of the book (be it an anatomy manual, a map or an old encyclopedia), is simply trimmed, not changed. “Nothing inside the books is relocated or implanted, only removed. Images and ideas are revealed to expose alternate histories and memories. My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception.”
You can admire more of his work on his website.