Artist Su Blackwell, previously featured here and here, has created beautiful wreaths of flowers using cut outs of paper. Called Sertum Orchidaceum, they’re made with a steel frame, a book, and then paper that’s been cut out to resemble real, living flowers. Using a scalpel, Blackwell cuts, by hand, these flowers and then arranges them in a way that you could almost swear that you’re looking at actual floral displays.
Sertum Orchidaceum 2014, below, incorporates a second-hand book from around the 1900s that has illustrations of orchids. This adds to the overall piece, making the viewer believe that a wild garden has exploded from the pages of the book. The sculpture is currently on display at Beyond the Book, an exhibition from now till July 17 at London gallery Long & Ryle. Blackwell joins fellow book artists Ellen Bell, Jonathan Mathew Boyd, Yvette Hawkins, Samantha Y Huang in showing the diverse ways books are now used as an artistic medium.
As Blackwell states, “The book’s organic quality, such as the leather, paper, glue, ink and thread, invites a physical, intimate relationship which no electronic device will ever be able to replace. Devouring a book is not just a metaphor; the vocabulary of the book often reveals its closeness with the human body, conjuring up the head, the skin, the back, and the nerves. It is not surprising then that many artists are developing a deep interest in the material form of the book; transforming it, manipulating it and appropriating it in a variety of ways.
“This exhibition aims to explore the work of contemporary artists hailing from the UK who are exploring the book as a material object and reinventing its pre-existing form..All of the art-works brought together in this exhibition, which range from sculpture and jewellery to projections and prints, aim to question the definition of both art and the book.” Su Blackwell’s website