Guy Laramee Book Art Will Never Let You Look At A Textbook the Same Way Again

After seeing the Webster's Dictionary transformed into a piece of art, just try to look up a word without thinking about it again. Canadian artist Guy Laramée's book art transforms textbooks, reference manuals, and works of fiction and nonfiction into stunning romantic landscapes you'll really just have to see to believe. Laramée, in his artist's statement about his work, talks about how he was inspired by the alleged death of the paper book in favor of digital reading and what that theory really means, if anything.

The erosion of cultures – and of “culture” as a whole - is the theme that runs through the last 25 years of my artistic practice. Cultures emerge, become obsolete, and are replaced by new ones. With the vanishing of cultures, some people are displaced and destroyed. We are currently told that the paper book is bound to die. The library, as a place, is finished. One might ask so what? ...
So I carve landscapes out of books ... Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.

Laramée has been creating art — whether it's sculpture, music, painting, writing or directing — for 30 years, And now he believes he has come to the driving force behind what he want to create:

After 30 years of practice, the only thing I still wish my art to do is this: to project us into this thick “cloud of unknowing."

The artist's largest, most visually striking work is his four-foot-long replica of the Grand Canyon designed from dozens of volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, which is named La Grande Bibliothèque. (And yes, don't worry, you can see that one below.) In his art, books become caves, mountains, rolling hills, cliffs, and bodies of water, while still remaining true to the original form of the book. In a word, it's remarkable.

You can see Laramée's book art on display at the Jayne H. Baum Gallery in New York City. But I'd never hold out on you, so you can take a peek into some of Laramée's incredible art pieces below.

© Guy Laramée The Way Out, 2013. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Larousse methodique, 2011. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Larousse methodique 2011. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Geographie Universalle, 2013. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Geographie Universalle, 2013. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Dragon Over the Clouds, 2014. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Dragon Over the Clouds, 2014. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Serra Gaucha, 2014. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Serra Gaucha, 2014. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Serra Gaucha, 2014. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.

© Guy Laramée Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra, 2011. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

© Guy Laramée Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra, 2011. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

© Guy Laramée The Grand Library, 2012, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

© Guy Laramée The Grand Library, 2012, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

© Guy Laramée Beyond, 2013, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

© Guy Laramée Beyond, 2013, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York

Main image: © Guy Laramée Larousse methodique 2011. Private collection, courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York.