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Braided Book Art by Math Monahan

We've all been guilty of dog-earing a book to mark the page, but Ann Arbor-based artist Math Monahan has elevated folding pages from a book into an art form. He wrote:

Using a system of braided books, I am attempting to create a structure that possesses its power and agency only when it exist between academic book and art object. By allowing the tension of the circle arrangement to hold the object together, without adhesives or restraint, the pages slowly unbraid themselves over time giving the installation the opportunity to become books, again, in their original form.

Math's artwork are located in two installations: in the Penny Stamps Graduate Studio and in the Hatcher Graduate library in the University of Michigan.

Visual News has photos and interview with the artist:

VN: How long did it take you to create your Between series? Can you explain the process?
MM: The installation involves 2 book circles. One to be installed in a library, the other in a gallery or other art defined space (i.e. studio). Each book circle has twelve books. To braid the books, I first find the center of the book. From there I carefully fold in the first page from the right, making sure to not crease or tear the page. Then I fold the same from the left. I continue the folding back and forth adding another page to the fold each time until the book is finished.

VN: How long does it take for the books to unbraid themselves?

MM: When arranging the braided books in a circle I use a string to hold the form together. When the form is finished I remove the string releasing the tension and allowing the braided pages to begin unraveling themselves. Some unbraid themselves more then others. Eventually the circles settle somewhere in between. In this installation the books in the library unbraided more then the books in the studio. I like to believe the books in the library were trying to be closer to the books surrounding them.

More at Visual News and Math's website and Tumblr.

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