Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer cuts into books, of which he which he has first sealed the edges, proceeding one page at a time, cutting around images and other areas of interest and exposing layers of pages beneath.
He does not remove or replace content, he works with the internal arrangement of each book, or grouping of books, as though it were his slab of marble, with wonders to be discovered within.
The resulting sculptures combine the found images, Dettmer’s choices about what to cut and what to feature, his arrangement of layers and depth and the overall arrangement of the books, sculptural forms in themselves, often with pages pulled into slanting waves of edges.
He is at once digging into and revealing history and rearranging its context, in a sense similar to Max Ernst’s collages, and creating something new, a form and relationship that didn’t exist in the original books.
On Dettmer’s website you can view the groupings of images by choosing a year from the top navigation.
There is a post on My Modern Metropolis with a quick overview of several works.