The Prague Municipal Library is now home to a spiraling tower of hundreds of carefully stacked books assembled by Slovakian born artist Matej Kren. Dubbed Idiom, the staggering installation reaches up to the ceiling, and Kren installed a mirror inside the funnel to create the illusion of a magical, unending spire of books.
Matej Kren’s ‘Idiom’ book tower originally appeared in Sao Paulo’s International Biennial in 1995. It consists of hundreds and hundreds of books stacked in a cylindrical pattern with the overlapping style of a Jenga game. A narrow tear-shaped opening creates a ten-foot hole in the side of the tower. The colorful spines of the various books create a rainbow pattern on the outside, while on the inside the well-worn, yellow-tinged pages of the books cast a warm glow.
Patrons of the Prague Municipal Library can peer their heads and shoulders into the tower’s interior. A mirror has been placed on the tower’s floor, replicating the experience of looking down into the waters of a wishing well. Another mirror caps the ceiling, creating an infinity effect. The stacks of books seem to climb and descend endlessly in both directions around the reflection of the visitor themselves.
Matej Kren often uses books to connect viewers with the feeling of infinity, exploring their structural use as well their application as tools of knowledge. Upon the close of many of his installations, the books used in the sculptural cells and structures are returned to their original purpose – the function of being read. The books work together to create these massive structures, and individually to spread the knowledge within their pages.
Lead image © FilmDave