Sculptures from books
Wonderful tales, extensive histories, and deep information can all be found in the literature. Nevertheless, it’s simple to overlook the printed version of novels in this age of e-books. Alexis Arnold, a San Francisco-based artist, has spent nine years turning printed materials into glistening, crystallised artworks to investigate the malleability of hard copies.
According to Arnold, “My Solidified Books Series explores the materiality as opposed to the text or substance of the book.” She uses water to deform the covers and pages of books before soaking them in an iodine solution to cause crystals to develop all over the book, freezing it in place and making it useless. She goes on to say that “the crystals erase the content and solidify the books into geological masterpieces.”
Arnold has changed the content of classic novels including To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby Dick, and The Three Musketeers as well as scholarly works like the Smithsonian Nature Guidance: Rocks and Minerals. When a book is coagulated by a borax solution, its distinctive features—cover, number of pages, drawings highlighted. While some artworks are ungainly with heaps of dried-out pages, others seem more vibrant and exuberant.
The importance of books as objects, narratives, lessons, mementos, and more made them an ideal subject for research using the crystal growth technique, according to Arnold. She was inspired to start the collection in 2011, during the height of the e-book boom. The artist used the several hardbacks and paperbacks that he found lying about at the time to study the validity of crystal development. Arnold came to the conclusion that the procedure reduced books—which are valued due to their reusability—to just decorative, aesthetic objects. These geological monuments hold an “entire history of the world, use, and recollections,” as opposed to enlightening writing and fantastic narrative. Arnold’s work treats both classic books and obsolete phone books as inert, lovely things.
Continue reading to see more modern artworks from Arnold’s Crystallized Books collection, and be sure to follow the artist on Insta to see her most recent works.
The books are treated with a borax solution by San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold so that they crystallise.
This continuing project, Crystallized Books, contrasts the texture and substance of books.
Arnold turns books into purely decorative, ornamental things that mimic ancient treasures.