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Wednesday October 26, 2016
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Open Book Exhibit Reviewed



Ryan Molloy have assembled a selection of twenty-eight works that explode conventional notions of the book by imaginatively re-visioning the printed word.

The works incorporate a wide variety of materials, everything from computer animation to glass. The most successful deal with books as physical objects, like Noriko Ambe's A Thousand of Self. Ambe makes skillful cuts to a book of portraits so that a face becomes a landscape of deep fissures, a bundle of eyes that is simultaneously disturbing and exquisite. Brian Dettmer accomplishes a similar effect with Philosophiae, a scientific tome transformed by the intricate removal of text into a diorama of equations and geometric designs. Javascriptorium, a video by Ariel Malka, takes the book-as-landscape metaphor to a literal extreme. In this piece historical and biblical writings become mountainous digital landscapes revealed over time. We seem to float through a world made entirely of text.

Other artists explore more recognizable models. Catarina Leitao, for instance, has created an artistic variation of the ever-popular children's pop-up book. Uplift appears to be a sci-fi adventure tale, portraying a journey to an alien planet or life in a post-apocalyptic city. But rather than provide a recognizable narrative, Leitao supplies only a few, choice scenes composed of finely detailed drawings and blobs of Japanese sumi ink. The incompleteness of the story allows viewers to essentially make up the tale however they see fit.

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University of Michigan Museum of Arts