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Brian Dettmer: Elemental

Oct 20, 2012 - Jan 5, 2013
10am - 5pm

2011/2012 Working Artist Project

Brian Dettmer is a 2011/2012 Working Artist Project Fellow selected by Michael Rooks, a curator from the High Museum of Art.

About this Exhibition:

Brian Dettmer: Elemental

“Material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding, from a tangible constant to an endless series of mutations. The richness and depth of older books is universally respected yet often undiscovered as users need a quicker, slicker bite of information. The book’s intended function has decreased. Its relevance is still vital but the content stays sedentary and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. We are left with raw material.

 In my upcoming show for MOCA GA I continue to question the past, present and future of the book by exploring and expanding possibilities and perspectives of the book’s form and its content. In this show iconic forms and symbols from early childhood education are deconstructed and represented in new ways. Encyclopedia sets merge to form tall towers and pixilated patterns as the symbols and ideas from the past are broken down to basic elements. Long rows of paperbacks are compressed and sanded into solid wooden forms. Books on games reveal new matrices as a result of strategy and chance. A chart inspired by a thesaurus follows thousands of potential paths of meaning that spring from a single word. Images of state flags are dissected and reconstructed to present a new vocabulary about locality from existing symbols of authority.

Authoritative materials and images adapt to amplify their own physicality while raising questions about their own internal meaning and the structures they rely on to communicate. In the past, ideas were recorded and saved in solid forms but in today’s intangible world we may be left with nothing. Foundations are threatened and history is lost as formats change and structures erode. We are at a pivotal moment as the monopoly of the book breaks down and elementary concepts and symbols are losing their traditional forms to be reformatted for the future.”

– Brian Dettmer

View Catalogue/Database Exhibition Record

About this Artist:

Brian Dettmer (b. 1974 in Chicago, Illinois) is a New York based artist known for his detailed and innovative sculptures with books and other forms of analog media. He has had solo shows in New York, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta and Barcelona. Dettmer’s work has been exhibited throughout North America and Europe at galleries and museums including the Museum of Arts and Design, NY; The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, DC; the Museum of Contemporary Art, GA; The Chicago Cultural Center, IL; and Museum Rijswijk, Netherlands among many others.

In 2012, he had a solo show at the University of Maribor in Maribor, Slovenia as part of its celebration as the European Capital of Culture for 2012.  In 2014, he spoke at the TED Youth conference and was also the subject of a ten-year retrospective at the Hermann Geiger Foundation in Cecina, Italy. Dettmer has recently lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and The New York Public Library in New York. He currently resides in Atlanta where he is represented by Saltworks Gallery.

Photographed by Michael McKelvey

Photographed by Michael McKelvey

Photographed by Michael McKelvey

More info on Brian Dettmer can be found here.