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Barbara Wildenboer
Ellis's Anatomy

2019

$4,200

About

South African artist, Barbara Wildenboer delicately cuts and extracts the pages of old books to produce sculptural explorations of the contents inside. The works are part of an ongoing project titled the Library of the Infinitesimally Small and Unimaginable Large, to which she has been contributing altered books since 2011. The series uses the site of the library as a metaphor for the larger universe, while also focusing on the decrease of printed materials as a result of the digital age. “Through the act of altering books and other paper based objects the intention is to draw emphasis to our understanding of history as mediated through text or language and our understanding of the abstract terms of science through metaphor,” Wildenboer explains. The Cape Town-based artist sources her books and maps from secondhand bookshops and flea markets from around the world, looking specifically for publications that have illustrations, paper quality, and subject matter that might be interesting to slice and transform. George Viner Ellis, born in 1812, was Professor of Anatomy at University College London and one of the foremost anatomists of his time. In 1840 he published Demonstrations of Anatomy: being a Guide to the Knowledge of the Human Body by Dissections, now known as Ellis’s Anatomy. His name became a household word among medical students, and his work was for a long time, the standard textbook in England and the United States. Ellis collaborated with the South African natural history illustrator, George Henry Ford, to produce some of the best anatomical artwork ever published. Using her own version of a scalpel, Wildenboer reveals sections of the illustrations beneath the cover of the book, exposing those early classic illustrations of the human body. Barbara Wildenboer lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She obtained a Masters in Fine Art (cum laude) from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town in 2007. She has participated in several group exhibitions and art fairs both nationally and internationally, including South Africa, San Francisco, Washington, London, Dubai, Sydney and Hong Kong.

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