Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Literary Sculpture 

Wednesday, Feb 1 2012
Without seeing a video, it is difficult to imagine how Brian Dettmer creates his sculptures. His medium is vintage nonfiction — hardbound dictionaries, encyclopedias, medical journals, atlases, and engineering texts that have, for the most part, become outdated and outmoded media. Using a delicate system of ropes and clamps, Dettmer arranges these books into a desirable configuration, and seals the pages shut. Then he begins to excavate one page at a time, preserving a word here or an image there. Dettmer’s pieces are not planned before he cuts into a book — a process he likens to reading — but the revelation never fails to astound: a crevasse flooded with mythology, an Escher-like tableau of algorithms, a memory-box overflowing with bathing beauties and cloud formations. Dettmer’s reverence for each tome is palpable; his love of books seems to propel production in an age when the written word is fast vanishing from our physical world. His latest show, “Textonomy,” features large-scale works using complete sets of encyclopedias. If you want to explore the crannies, arrive early. Dettmer’s exhibit is part of 49 Geary, a multi-gallery favorite destination for First Thursday, which is tonight.
Thu., Feb. 2, 5:30 p.m., 2012

About The Author

Silke Tudor

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • U2 @ SAP Center in San Jose
    Last night U2 performed the first U.S. date of it’s Innocence + Experience tour at SAP Center in San Jose. All four band members were present despite recent injuries sustained by both Bono and Edge. The sold out show took audience members on a walk down memory lane as the band revisited their roots. The innovative stage and lighting used gave the arena show an intimate feel, and engaged audience members in all sections of the venue. Photographs by Sugarwolf.
  • Bay to Breakers 2015 - NSFW
    The 103rd annual Bay to Breakers 12K race was packed on Sunday despite the cold weather. With a starting point a few blocks from The Embarcadero, people dressed as bananas, Elvis and everything in between ran west through the city and finished at the Great Highway where breakers crash onto Ocean Beach.

    Photographs by Christopher Victorio.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular