Book art of Guy Laramée
Guy Laramee – theatrical writer, composer, theater director, sculptor, designer of musical instruments and a singer. He is well versed in art, the subtleties of video, creating installations and many other disciplines. He is the owner of more than 30 grants on art; he was awarded the Canada Council’s Joseph S. Stauffer award for musical composition; his works were presented in US, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Latin America. More than 35 solo and collective exhibitions were presented in museums and galleries.
Guy Laramée received worldwide fame thanks to the landscape sculptures which he has been creating from old books since 1999. For this purpose he uses a circular saw and inspiration. Such an innovative idea to recycle old useless books has brought the author high popularity. This talented Canadian, found his calling in the creation of “book” sculptures and it became his main occupation.
Using a scalpel artist gives new birth to the decrepit thick tomes (old encyclopedias and dictionaries) and converts them into a variety of ancient buildings, mountain landscapes and evergreen plateaus, including caves, volcanoes and even frozen waves. Then, he gives his sculptures natural colors. It is truly incredible scenery, amazing by the elaboration of all details. The artist can also use more “modern literature”. Billions of printed books (computer manuals, taxation books, telephone directories) become useless someday and just collect dust. All annual literature which becomes outdated by the end of the year will suit for this target.
Work on the sculpture, depending on the complexity of the idea, may take from 3 days to 3 years. The author argues that the carving on books is a very exciting activity that requires maximum of precision and concentration. Look at the pictures and say he is wrong! One inaccurate movement can ruin the labor of months of work in an instant! Guy Laramée says that when he takes the scalpel, he forgets about everything and feels like a true creator who creates a new world of shabby sheets of paper, discolored by time.
“Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains,” Guy Laramée claimed. “They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply is. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are. After 30 years of practice, the only thing I still wish my art to do is this: to project us into this thick ‘cloud of unknowing.”
There are two particularly incredible series of conceptual landscapes, titled as “The Great Wall” and “Biblios”, the creation of which took three years. “Biblios” is a brief tour into the “Old Testament.” “Great Wall” includes fantastic sculptures of the immediate future, in which America is fenced off from the world by a high stone wall.
I, like so many book lovers, do not perceive this art with a proper admiration. All the same, books are not something that must be used as clay for the sculpture, even the unclaimed ones. However, let us not lose sight of the fact that such creativity has no analogues, and the process requires so much patience, attentiveness and talent. And this can not but cause surprise and respect.