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Book Art: Long-Bin Chen’s Recycled Book Sculptures

Curators’ Corner

Book Art: Long-Bin Chen’s Recycled Book Sculptures

In the digital age, the fate of the printed book is becoming more and more at risk as digital alternatives gain momentum. As e-readers takeover, artists are turning the page as well, choosing paperbacks to create enchanting sculptures. Unorthodox materials such as telephone books, newspapers, magazines and other used paperbacks are recycled to a higher literary level.

Book sculpture artist Long-Bin Chen blends Western knowledge with Eastern tradition, filling his bookshelves with Asian iconography such as Buddha heads and Japanese warrior figurines. The recurrence of Buddha heads expresses an important undertone – “The Buddha sculptures represent the missing heads of many ancient Buddha figures that have been looted from Asia and sold to Western museums and collectors. Since colonial times, Westerners have taken heads from the Buddha statues in Asia and brought them back to the West,” explains the Hasley Institute of Contemporary Art.

Chen’s stonework look-alikes not only comment on human consumption and waste, but also mourns the pre-digital era of bound books, giving these pages a life of their own.