Artist's insane swarm of animal cutouts spring from 1,200 recycled books

Andrea Mastrovito
© Andrea Mastrovito

The increasing popularity of e-readers have prompted observers to sound the death knell for paper books; yet, many of us still find an irreplaceable je ne sais quoi in our trusty tomes. Maybe it's because we can dog-ear them to death, or find that their smells bring back some half-forgotten memory.

Italy and New York City-based artist Andrea Mastrovito finds life renewed in old books; one of his latest works, "The Island of Dr. Mastrovito II" features a horde of animal cutouts taken from recycled textbooks -- butterflies, bears, cats and endless flowers.

© Andrea Mastrovito
© Andrea Mastrovito

Done for the Mudac gallery in Lausanne, Switzerland, the work uses thousands of handcut images sourced from over 1,200 books, according to This Is Colossal:

[Mastrovito's] starting points for this site-specific work are the two most common forms of home recreation—books and television. The title of his installation refers to H. G. Wells’ famous novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which the archetypal “mad” scientist experiments upon animals in order to give them human traits. In this “Island,” the artist substitutes himself for the doctor, trying to instill a new life into that which was once alive in a different way (books from paper, paper from wood, and wood from trees). Mastrovito imagines that the outside fauna take control of the abandoned house and become its proper inhabitants.

© Andrea Mastrovito
© Andrea Mastrovito
© Andrea Mastrovito

This must have taken forever; but the effect is surreal -- a swarming tide straight out of the imagination and into reality -- representing how story comes to life and overtakes it. (And psst! Stick with those library cards -- they're greener than e-readers.) More over at This Is Colossal and Andrea Mastrovito.

Tags: Artists | Arts | Books | Recycled Consumer Goods