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Portraits of Birds and Their Habitats Carved Into the Pages of Old Books


“Where they live” is a series of book sculptures that feature Brazilian birds and their natural habitats carved into the pages.

Birds will always be minute heroes of literature, like syllables that ignite any testimony or event within a given narrative. But metaphors, the invisible correspondences between birds and books, are so frequent that they could be considered almost inevitable. In addition to their many notable appearances in poetry, an example is the recent work Onde Elles Moran (Where They Live), by Canadian artist Guy Laramée, who is represented by Jayne H Baum Gallery.

Owl book

Laramée spent 9 months on the series which presents Brazilian birds painted onto the famous Clássicos Jackson series, a collection of second-hand linen books that belong to that encyclopedic genre designed to dress up libraries and collect dust on shelves. The most remarkable thing about his work is that one can clearly detect the distinctive approach of a naturalist infatuated with taxonomy and exoticism –– that mix between with a diligence and curiosity that’s so rare in contemporary art. The pieces also include the topography of the natural habitats of each bird. For these, Laramée used oil, inks, pigments and dry pastels, crayons, fixers and beeswax. In an interview with ANOBIUM, the artist said:

I put a book in there—stupid idea—and there it was. Within seconds I saw the landscape, the drama, Borges, the little people who lived in books, everything … I never really totally forget that these are books, that my raw material is not wood, not even paper, but a book. At times I’m lost in the project, in the landscape. But a book is a book, structurally. The pages are not glued, so you have to respect the structure, from the binding of each page to the cover, otherwise pages will fly away when you release the clamps.



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