Wednesday, September 29, 2010

House of Recycled Books (Art Installation)

by Stephen J. Gertz

Somewhere a Door Slammed ...
1.74 x 1.47 x 1.81
Nettie Horn Gallery, Bethnal Green, London.

Rosie Leventon creates environmental art installations, often from recycled materials.

She "makes sculptural installations, for both indoors and outdoors, using a broad variety of materials from human hair to recycled central heating pipes. She also draws and paints, using ink, pencil, acrylic, chalk, bitumen and other media to create proposals for sculpture and installations. Although often conceived as outline ideas for larger 3d projects these drawings and maquettes represent a significant body of work in their own right.

"Some of Leventon's installations comprise radical interventions into the interior architecture of a building. She has constructed false floors that float on water and which shift under foot. Her outdoor installations sometimes highly ambitious in scale often have a functional, regional element, providing water for animals, for example, or promoting biodiversity and regeneration.

"All of Leventon's work however is grounded in a sensitive concern for the natural environment and how we use it. Leventon sees her work as interweaving a kind of personal archaeology with the archaeology of contemporary society and the physical archaeology of places" (Leventon website).

Of Somewhere a Door Slammed (2009) she writes:

"This recycled installation is made from paperbacks, mainly romantic novels, that have titles like Confessions of a Vicar's Wife and Cold Heart Canyon. They have been formed brick-like into a rectangular tower which stands about 1.82 metres high. In it are regular shaped windows on two sides which allow a view into the interior. The titles of the books are visible on the outside of the walls, and looking through the windows people can see the pages of the books have been roughly carved - softened - so that they may look a bit like flat pieces of stone or an ancient ruin. Living in Central London, we all live in or walk past huge tower blocks every day. But what do we know of the lives of all the people who live in the flats? Peoples complicated lives in which so much joy and sorrow and so many major and minor events are contained. References to archaeology run right through my work, also the act of looking."

With thanks to Nancy Kosenka of Serendipity Books for the lead.

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