Bookish Art on Queen St. West
John Redekop, whose work can be seen at Spin Gallery, takes strips of paper cut out of magazines and newspapers and laboriously transforms them into sculptures like “Heap.” A piece where Redekop glued thousands of pieces of paper and balanced them on a single nail. The resulting work looks and feels like a cross-section of a giant tree trunk. But instead of leaving us a record of the climate, of droughts and rainy seasons, Redekop instead gives us a conceptual archive of popular culture and disposable media.
Down the street, the Stephen Bulger Gallery has brought together a number of photographers for Bibliotheca, a group show that examines our relationships to books and reading.
The approach is different from Redekop who teases out meaning from ephemeral texts like magazines and newspapers and capitalizes on their disposable nature by destroying them and using them in his work. The photographers at Stephen Bulger have gone the other route and fetishized the book.
Book covers are enlarged and gorgeously framed in one work. Their pages seemingly take flight in Alison Rossiter’s “The Stacks.” Here books become objects of beauty. While our relationship to the book should be one of hushed spirituality, like the reader in Andre Kertesz’ “Rooftops of the Latin Quarter,” alone in communion with what he is reading.
This same spirituality comes through in Candida Hofer’s photo of the Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem. Hofer is part of the school of post-war German landscape photographers that include the likes of Andreas Gursky, who is best known for his breath-taking and often overwhelming large-scale photographs. Hofer and Gursky are a contrast in styles. A Gursky photograph will often dwarf and render the viewer anonymous. Hofer’s photograph of the Teyler’s Musuem does the exact opposite. Despite its size it stil exudes an intimacy and humanity that invites us in.
Image courtesy of: John Redekop/Spin Gallery