I found this last Friday and have been going back to it daily to get lost in these amazing landscapes (Huckberry cites This is Colossal as its original source where more examples can be found). On their own, these are magnificent but, when you think back to what they are and all that had to be done to create just one, they are staggering.
Laramee is genius in his execution. The landscapes feel so real and yet eerie at times. The extreme close-up on This Is Colossal really looks like a trail you could hike. Like I trail I want to hike. And the preservation of the star map in the cover of the moon piece was the perfect choice. I’ve never been to outer space but isn’t that exactly what we’ve been trained to think it looks like? They all make me want to jump into the scene and wander around.
Laramee reveals his inspiration was the loss of his mother a few days after Japan’s tsunami and that “everything we know, everything we did, everything we think we are, everything and everyone we love, all this will be wiped out” A very sobering idea.
It is a delightful juxtaposition though that, in creating this art, in sanding (?) down the pages, Laramee is indeed wiping out the pages and the book but, at the same time, preserving a gorgeous landscape that will not be destroyed by wind, erosion, water, etc. Of course, eventually, time will claim his work and reinforce the idea that nothing is permanent. But, for a short time, the perfection that is these landscapes will hold still.
I wonder if Laramee is purposely wiping out these books (sacrilege to some) to show that nothing remains or if he is creating these landscapes in an attempt to hold on to that which we can’t. Or both.
Either way, I can’t stop looking.