Madrid-based artist Alicia Martin transforms thousands of disused books into tumultuous towers that pour out of windows and into the streets. Her larger than life sculptures have popped up throughout Europe, where they engage both the buildings they spring from and the public walking below. Read on for a closer look!
Martin’s most recent project, called “Biografies”, is based in her home town of Madrid. Biografies incorporates three of Madrid’s historic buildings – cascades of books pour out of each building in flowing forms like waterfalls.
One flow of books shoots from the second floor of an ancient fort, arcing over a small moat below. Another mass of books spews from the window of a mansion, landing inside an ornate fence, as if the residence’s library burst at the seams. The third seems to grow upwards from a public square, attaching itself to the building above it like a parasite.
Each of the massive book columns is held secure with an intricate metal and mesh framework inside. The metal skeleton gives the voluminous sculptures shape and holds each and every page in place, although the pieces appear to be flowing downward.
Martin’s other book installations are just as surreal. She has created a giant donut-shaped sculpture made of swirling novels, a vortex that intersects a gallery wall, and carefully orchestrated piles of tomes.