A work donated by the ‘Anonymous Book Sculptor’ raised over £2,000 at auction in the Macmillan Art Exhibition and Sale earlier this week. Proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
It will remain free to view in Bonham’s 22 Queen Street showroom (Venue 216) until the show closes at 4.00pm tomorrow.
The work is fashioned from a copy of Newman and Leeds’ The Textbook of British Butterflies and Moths, first published in 1913.
From its modified pages erupts a cloud of delicate, flying lepidopterans; some highly coloured, others with just the plain words of the book on their wings.
It is an astonishing sight, an imaginative feat whose technical ingenuity beggars belief.
The piece clearly has something to say about how one overcomes suffering, and also has at its heart a rather beautiful conceit: new life springing from a book more associated with capture, collection and taxonomic skewering.
The first of the Anonymous Book Sculptor’s works was donated to the Poetry Library in March 2011, and new donations have mysteriously appeared at irregular intervals since.
We are no closer to learning the artist’s identity. As she herself has said in print: ‘Not all mysteries need to be solved and this story belongs to everyone who supports libraries, books, words and ideas ... xxx’.
Other highlights in the Macmillan exhibition for this visitor are shown below. At the time of writing, none of them had yet been sold. AM
1. Maryanne Ryves, ‘Red Poppies and Grapefruit’, oil on canvas, £800.