Shredder by Jonathan Whitfill

Artist Jonathan Whitfill constructed these book wheel sculptures using old books for his 'Shredder' series.

"I have destroyed the original purpose of more books than anyone I have ever met. I have not read every book that I have brought to this altered state. Many of the items I have destroyed were well made, beautifully crafted functional objects of knowledge and potential enjoyment. Constructed from discarded encyclopedias, dictionaries, and paper-back novels these formal found object sculptures pay homage to a rapidly diminishing delivery item of knowledge while stimulating concepts of longevity and beauty albeit in an altered state. Yet doing what I do comes with some guilt."

"I use rationalization to continue working and lighten the weight I have placed on my shoulders. A series of small rational thoughts about preservation, homage, and ensuring the aesthetic value of the book for future generations usually births the force needed to rip through another page. The thought that publishers, printers, and authors are using digital media avenues with increasing fervor concerns me, but assuaging my conscience is the knowledge that the plastic based resin seeping into these old tomes is a fitting tomb, a glass casket if you will."

"Seeing boxes of books left on my front porch by un-named donors gives the feeling that when books are to die, they can go to a different place with a new more permanent form. Knowing that Libraries are gifting me their old treasures, saving them from a warehouse waiting to be burned, helps guide me through the process of taking away the most important aspect of these books, readability. Only leaving the glistened husks and the surface appearance is regrettable, but even a facade is sometimes better than nothing…"

"The book wheel series are an investigation of the circular nature of a typically rectilinear form. Recently I have found that my process can become refined to a point that I waste very little, if any, of the remnants from the media that is produced when I construct these pieces. All the extra detritus is utilized to make more pieces from the initial book form."

The books are encased in a protective resin and, after being manipulated, and secured to a metal sculpture base.

"Making a wedge form in order to make more circular objects can be done many different ways. I typically employ tearing or cutting out pages in sequential decreasing thickness until I reach the middle of the book, and then flip the book over and repeat. Another method to make a wedge shape is the repeated folding of each page until the desired shape is acquired. The most important development of process in the last two years in my estimation, is using the angles removed from one project to come back together into a new circular form. This increased efficiency of materials and some applied geometry has made my valuable studio time more productive – increasing quality along with quantity. The simple and perfect form of a circle, what an elemental delight."

"Some of the best pieces in this series have a tessellated edge, either random or rigidly planned as in the work – USA Yesterday. During the process of making a book-wheel, I enjoy the clean edge, and it even gives me an opportunity to write a small word with the letters identified on the spine. It all really depends on the books being used, and ultimately how they behave – and in doing so, call into being their own design."

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Source: zoneonearts


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