As the technological culture pushes further into the future, our society is beginning to abandon pastimes of the 20th century. With the digital touch-screen revolution fully underway, more and more we see paper fade into nostalgia.
Think of listening to our mothers read bedtime stories or waiting in line for the next Harry Potter book—we never dreamed then that our beloved pastimes would eventually slip away. And now, with predictions that the paper industry will fall in 20 years—that sad reality is steadily approaching.
In collaboration with Live Oak Public Library, Desotorow presented Beyond the Fold, a thought-provoking exhibit in which contributing artists called attention to the loss of paper—creating works that exceed the viewers’ traditional, two-dimensional expectations of the material.
Featured artists include:
On the blank walls of Desotorow, paper came to life in unexpected mediums and scales.
Abstract, paper installations consumed entire corners and walls. Handmade books with pop-out illustrations rested alongside plastic gloves, enticing gallery patrons to flip through. Some artists incorporated paper in everyday objects, like a hanging large-scale quilt or dainty “book” necklace made from precious metals and romance novel pages.
Truspace housed the featured installation by Canadian artist Tom Bendtsen—Argument #6. The work features a towering staircase formation constructed from hundreds of books. Upon stepping into the space, viewers were taken by installation’s grand scale and presence. Donated by Live Oak Public Library, the immense ascending formation of books give the impression of leading endlessly upwards.
Bendtsen names his studies in Toronto, where he went through a program focused on “experimental art” as a possible source of inspiration.
“I call them “Arguments” because we all have access to the same knowledge—how we compile and form that knowledge shapes the kind of argument we want to make. But when I went to school [in Toronto], the very theories I studied were so prominent in art making that I felt I was almost too influenced by visual arts. Then I thought if I use books as material, I’m producing them and pulling them out of their power—the word “power”, and making them into objects.”
Visitors called Beyond the Fold “playful”, “thoughtful”, “endearing”, but above all—nostalgic. It’s chilling to wonder just how far into the future will what we experienced become just a memory of a lost art form.