Brian Dettmer's "Book Autopsies" -- sliced book sculptures

Brian Dettmer's "Book Autopsies" are radically altered books that are sliced, diced and reworked to form three-dimensional structures. Link


  1. Incredible work!

    It looks like a little license is taken here and there with positioning of some of the images to make them overlap, but the effect is just great.

    Done in this way, the illustrations, photos, even written passages in the books tell more visually than if one were to simply flip through and look at them.

    I really like this, well done!

    Now I’d like to see the effect on some other works like Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series, or other better-known works.

    Heck, it’s the kind of thing I’d almost like to try myself, given the time and a really really good X-acto knife set!

  2. No, he only cuts out the spaces where words aren’t.

    You know, to keep you from reading between the lines! :\

  3. Brian is a family friend and it’s great to see him mentioned here. Can’t wait to tell him he’s been boingboinged!

  4. A little research revealed that he uses a computer-plotted laser cutter to make these which disappointed me a little since I had this picture of him working away with a little knife, but I’m sure it still took tons of work and planning and the execution is beautiful.

  5. Yo Flying Squid. I have known this Artist’s work for a while and I’m not sure where you do your “research” but I can guarantee you that no computer plotters were used in making his work.
    Its all xactos and other surgical tools, one page at a time and its amazing.

  6. I’ve seen this guy’s work in person at Packer Schopf Gallery and its all cut by hand, one page at a time w/ an exacto knife after the book is sealed shut and nothing is ever repositioned. He’s never used a computer plotter either. You can see and read about it at his gallery websites- Haydee Rovirosa gallery, Toomey Tourell and Packer Schopf.

  7. I would second comment number 8. Brian is my cousin and he does everything by hand – believe me, i’ve been in his studio. He uses exacto blades and never repositions anything- by going page by page (he also reads each page as he goes) the collage naturally comes through. You should check out his other work- it’s all a similar style but still quite impressive.

  8. Marcos: One of the points of Dettmer’s work is that the books he alters have ceased to have any value as actual conveyors of content. He is restoring life to the book, in a sense.

  9. Agree with Marcos here. The object is beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful, but he shouldn’t have done that to a Webster’s New International Dictionary, even if the copy was (as I hope) incomplete or badly damaged already. This is one of the most wonderful books ever produced in this country and should be physically respected and preserved. They aren’t making them any more, and never will.

  10. Wow! I love excitinng work, I have never seen anything exactly like this and it is done so well. Much success to you Brian, your work is amazing. Carolyn, Oregon

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