Monday, September 12, 2011

Edinburgh's Mysterious Book Sculptures

Ohhh, who would have guessed there's an intriguing mystery taking place in the world of paper art?!

While perusing the blog Blue Velvet Chair, I noticed a comment about an artist who has been surreptitiously depositing intricate book sculptures in literary locations around the capital city of Scotland since March.

Mysterious paper sculptures

The Scottish Poetry Library was the first recipient - a thoughtfully constructed paper tree was left on a table, addressed to the library's Twitter name. Alongside the tree were two golden egg halves, covered and filled with phrases from the poem "A Trace of Wings" by Edwin Morgan, along with a neatly written tag:

"It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… ... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)"

Mysterious paper sculptures

The elusive creator remained anonymous despite a good bit of news coverage.

Several months later, another discovery... this time The National Library of Scotland received a gramophone and coffin sculpture constructed from the book Exit Music by Ian Rankin, UK's bestselling crime author. Again, a Twitter address on a handwritten tag that read, "For @natlibscot - A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas... (& against their exit)"

Mysterious paper sculptures

In June a sculpture was left at Filmhouse, an indie film cinema. It's a theater scene with the audience seated on a stack of books, viewing men on horses emerging from the movie screen. This tag message supports libraries and all things *magic*. I might mention that one of the audience members is wearing a tiny photo of Ian Rankin's face.

Mysterious paper sculptures

In early July, the staff at The Scottish Storytelling Centre came upon a dragon nesting in a window, carved from an Ian Rankin novel. A message was attached:

For @scotstorycenter - A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas..... Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon and in the dragon was a story.....

Mysterious paper sculptures

Show of hands... anyone else getting chills from all of this amazing creativity?

In August, two more sculptures appeared on the very same day at the bustling Edinburgh International Book Festival, one at the Bookshop and another at UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature. Once again the mystifying artist managed to slip in and out unnoticed.

Mysterious paper sculptures

Mysterious paper sculptures

The most recent discovery on August 30 at the Central Lending Library on George IV Bridge is a paper magnifying glass balanced on a book. The tag references poet Edwin Morgan as did the first sculpture, and the message is a play on the high cost of precious literature.

Mysterious paper sculptures

Mysterious paper sculptures

I'll be keeping an eye on this fascinating puzzle via photographer Chris Scott's blog, and wonder if we'll ever know the identity of the elusive artist. Meanwhile, plans are being made in Edinburgh to bring all seven sculptures together... that's one exhibit I would love to see!

Enjoy this STV News segment.
All images by photographer Chrisdonia (@chrisdonia on Twitter)

Update - September 23, 2011:
Newsflash - sort of - It seems a retired librarian purchased an altered book for his art student son from the incognito artist before similar sculptures began appearing in bookish places around the city. He knows who the artist is, but isn't saying. By the way, if you click the link to read the newspaper article, the poll result was, "No, we don't want to know" [who the artist is], but something tells me we've definitely not heard the last of this puzzle. (via Chrisdonia)

18 comments:

Meg@MegaCrafty said...

Very intriguing and suer cool!

Greenby Nature said...

A Bansky for the world of Book Sculptures!!

Kai said...

I got CHILLS (good ones!) reading this. All my life, books have been my friends, my company, my comfort, my source of information. Libraries & bookstores are my favorite places to be. This artist is my new hero. What an amazingly talented person & what a beautiful way to support the love of books & reading. Ahhhh! This post made me day! THANK YOU!

Ta said...

How cool!!!!

SUGANTHI said...

Wow! what a nice post Ann.Such a super talented person cannot be unanimous for long. I am sure I will be seeing a post by you about the artist soon .

chillin with Quillin said...

wow the art is awsome, its ashame the artist hasnt revealed his name., thanks for sharing!!!!

Ann said...

Those are amazing. I love all the mystery behind them too.

Melissa said...

How fun! And what amazing and beautiful works of art. It will be interesting to see if the artist is ever identified.

komnatachista said...

As one who's dabbled in a little surreptitous art of my own from time to time - though nothing comparing to this - I'm excited to see this happening. Might ruin it for me if the artist was to become known! I'll share this, definitely. Thanks again, Ann! - Karren

Baukje said...

You always surprise me with your beautiful creations!
Greetings Baukje

craftingcreatures said...

It's a whodunnit to go down in history. I think the sculpture must be enjoying the thrill of keeping us all guessing. A magician never reveals the secrets!

alamodestuff said...

I love the paper tree and the act of leaving these sculptures randomly. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a Banksy in Book form!!
Licia

LainyArt said...

If the sheer brilliance of the sculptures themselves didn't intrigue me, then the mystery surrounding their creation sure does. This is so enchanting...

Carole Meisenhelter said...

well I'm amazed! Such beautiful works of art; I love them!

Karena said...

How fascinating, the art is amazing!

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Катя-Kate said...

Ann, what a great idea of mysterious boook sculptures! They are amazing by themselves, but this mistical destiny of each sculpure make the whole story more enchanting!

owenstuart said...

I found one in at a venue during the festival.. it was on a table, at first I thought it was scrunched up tin foil ...In a nano second I saw it was a tiny table..the same nano second that I scrunched it up...

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