Carved Up Books Become Tsunamis, Volcanoes and Caves

Books hide inner universes. It’s the greatest appeal of text, that a few simple shapes, arranged in an endless array of patterns can create unlimited meaning. They can transport you in person and time through an autobiography, or place you in another galaxy through science fiction. And despite all of this potential, our book covers show what? Artsy typography? Nude male busts?

Guan Yin is a mixed media art collection by Guy Laramee. It’s actually a reaction to the devastation of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, a reflection of and ode to the “mysterious forces thanks to which we can traverse ordeals.”

But my eyes keep coming back to the books, fantastical paper landscapes that feel plucked straight from my imagination. “It’s no longer a book, but not yet a real landscape. In between. In this liminal zone–as anthropologist Victor Turner had it–lies the power of art,” Laramee tells me. “I would say my work is about transcendence and the unknowable–more precisely. It is about transcending duality and about finding refuge in what cannot be reduced to the ‘known,’ or even the unknown. It is about feeling ‘that which sees.’ Or hear, smell, think, for that matter. The non-personal Subject.” Laramee’s pieces aren’t religious, per se, though they most certainly border on that horribly unspecific genre of “spirituality.”

That said, I’d still really like to read a special edition of Game of Thrones with a topographical map of Westeros inside it. Don’t judge.MW