The art of book carving has reached a monumental new scale with Taiwanese artist Long-Bin Chen’s installation for the Library rotunda at the College of Charleston. Together with a team of helpers, the artist constructed large stacks of books and carved them into forms resembling those found in manicured nature – boulders, tree stumps, and a path of stones. The peaceful looking scene continues his merging of eastern and western art – in this case the western element being the discarded textbooks that formed the work itself.
As shown in the excellent video below, Chen used an angle grinder to rough cut the shape of his works, which resemble the literary equivalent of David Nash’s large wooden sculptures (displayed last year at Kew Gardens in London). The final forms were sanded smooth and then positioned in the library’s expansive rotunda with a snow-like field of paper confetti.
Chen’s previous carved works have focused on imaginative reinterpretations of classical eastern and western busts, often with the binding of their book-based origins remaining exposed. In some interpretations, his works could be thought of as bringing out the spirit of the classic thinkers who so often committed themselves to the written word.
To see more work from Chen, explore the wonderful book carving exhibition currently running at The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art (at The College of Charleston). See artworks you can purchase at artnet.com.
The story behind his latest work:
Previous works from Long-Bin Chen: