Title
Out of the Box: A Celebration of Contemporary Box Art
Posted in
Book
Editor
Tom Buchanan
Release Date
September 29, 2022
Distributor
Thames & Hudson
Format
240 x 168 mm
ISBN
978-1-9998583-8-4
Price
£45.00
Detailed Information
TitleOut of the Box: A Celebration of Contemporary Box ArtPosted inBookEditorTom Buchanan
Release DateSeptember 29, 2022DistributorThames & HudsonFormat240 x 168 mm
ISBN978-1-9998583-8-4Price£45.00

Billed as a “celebration of contemporary box art”, the just published book "Out of the Box" is a kaleidoscopic compendium of collages, assemblages and miniature art pieces showcasing the work of over 100 contemporary creatives from 21 different countries. The brainchild of designer, artist and curator Tom Buchanan, the 336-page book is built on a decade of research, curating and documenting exhibitions and events that focus on box art, a term that he loosely defines as “artworks that have evolved, been created within, or have even escaped from a box”. Diverse in medium and style, practitioners of this art form nevertheless share a penchant for collecting and using images, objects and materials, playing with conventions of perspective, and subverting viewers’ perceptions through visual illusions. Published by Eight Books, with a written contribution by Sarah Lea, a leading curator from London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Out of the Box contains over 500 peculiar, eye-catching and mind-boggling works that blur the lines between fine art and design, in essence constituting a portable cabinet of curiosities that embodies the lost art of collecting in an increasingly digital world.

BAD APPLES by John Dilnot 2010, 30 × 28 × 10 cm Acrylic, wood, glass, paper. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

BAD APPLES by John Dilnot 2010, 30 × 28 × 10 cm Acrylic, wood, glass, paper. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

RED MIST by Tom Buchanan 2020, 35 × 35 × 5 cm Illustrated ceramic plate in wooden tinted box frame. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

RED MIST by Tom Buchanan 2020, 35 × 35 × 5 cm Illustrated ceramic plate in wooden tinted box frame. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

IT’S ALL BEEN JUST REDUCED TO NUMBERS by Stephen Stockbridge 2014, 70 × 110 × 9 cm Wood, paint, LEDs, ping-pong balls. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

IT’S ALL BEEN JUST REDUCED TO NUMBERS by Stephen Stockbridge 2014, 70 × 110 × 9 cm Wood, paint, LEDs, ping-pong balls. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

PIGGY BONK by Willy Smax 2010, 28 × 180 × 250 cm Mixed-media assemblage. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

PIGGY BONK by Willy Smax 2010, 28 × 180 × 250 cm Mixed-media assemblage. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MIYALE YA BLUE by Cyrus Kabiru 2020, 60 × 65 × 15 cm Steel and found objects. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MIYALE YA BLUE by Cyrus Kabiru 2020, 60 × 65 × 15 cm Steel and found objects. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

A PACKED VIEW OVER HARMONIC BLUE FIELDS by Yrjö Edelmann 2011, 90 × 80 × 4 cm Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

A PACKED VIEW OVER HARMONIC BLUE FIELDS by Yrjö Edelmann 2011, 90 × 80 × 4 cm Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

Illusion is also at the centre of late Swedish painter Yrjö Edelmann’s trompe l’oeil, Surrealism-inspired work – where what initially seem to be enigmatic wrapped objects are in fact meticulously rendered hyper-realistic oil paintings.

American artist Kim Keever takes illusion to another level with his sublime, large-scale photographs of moody landscapes that almost seem to have been painted by the French or German Romantics. In fact, the landscapes are miniature scenes that the artist builds himself and then submerges in a 200-gallon water tank and photographs, exploring the relationship between ideas of artifice and naturalism in landscape painting and how this has shaped our perception of nature.

TURTLE SKULL ROCK by Kim Keever 2001, 78 × 117 cm/101 × 152 cm Edition prints Plaster, paint in 200-gallon water tank. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

TURTLE SKULL ROCK by Kim Keever 2001, 78 × 117 cm/101 × 152 cm Edition prints Plaster, paint in 200-gallon water tank. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

EXIT JESUS by Nancy Fouts 2014, 25 × 40 × 10 cm Photography in lightbox. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

EXIT JESUS by Nancy Fouts 2014, 25 × 40 × 10 cm Photography in lightbox. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

JESUS HE WAS A GOOD PLAYER by Ben Oakley 2012, 70 × 40 × 10 cm, Assorted crucifix and tin table footballer in wooden box. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

JESUS HE WAS A GOOD PLAYER by Ben Oakley 2012, 70 × 40 × 10 cm, Assorted crucifix and tin table footballer in wooden box. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

BEYOND DESCRIPTION by Kim Bumsu Installation view, 2008 Triptych, 190 × 120 × 10cm, 210 × 120 × 10 cm, 190 × 120 × 10 cm Movie lm, acrylic, LEDs. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

BEYOND DESCRIPTION by Kim Bumsu Installation view, 2008 Triptych, 190 × 120 × 10cm, 210 × 120 × 10 cm, 190 × 120 × 10 cm Movie lm, acrylic, LEDs. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD by Ian Wright 2020, 29.5 × 21 × 8 cm Hama Beads in bespoke frame. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

REMEMBERING GEORGE FLOYD by Ian Wright 2020, 29.5 × 21 × 8 cm Hama Beads in bespoke frame. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

Numerous artists featured in Out of the Box work in miniature form including German artist Frank Kunert who explores the “absurdity of life through painstakingly crafted miniature architectural scenes which he then photographs for his "Small Worlds" series. Straightforward and simple at first glance, on closer inspection the scenes reveal surreal, perception-twisting details that offer a slightly dark, satirical idea of modern society.

Just as meticulously constructed and elaborately detailed are French artist Marc Giai-Miniet’s “Les Boites” (The Boxes), dystopian dioramas depicting labyrinthic libraries, abandoned laboratories, desolate waiting rooms and empty prison cells as metaphors for the human condition. The mixed-media assemblages are bereft of humans yet suggestive of a human presence containing the aftermath from scenes of unknown experiments, interrogations and slaughters.

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez also creates dystopian miniature scenes, albeit focusing on the Syrian war and the current refugee crisis. Suspended from the ceiling, “Desperate Cargo” is an actual lifeboat that provides a backdrop for a miniature bombed urban landscape made out of a compilation of found objects, paint and scrap metal which ominously hang above viewers.

HEAVEN’S GATE by Frank Kunert. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

HEAVEN’S GATE by Frank Kunert. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

THE AFTERMATH DISLOCATION PRINCIPLE (ADP) by Jimmy Cauty Close up from a 1:87 scale model housed in a 40-foot shipping container. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

THE AFTERMATH DISLOCATION PRINCIPLE (ADP) by Jimmy Cauty Close up from a 1:87 scale model housed in a 40-foot shipping container. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

DESPERATE CARGO by Mohamed Hafez 2016, 365 × 120 × 100 cm Mixed-media installation, plaster, paint, oat, found objects, MP3 player, rusted metal, lighting. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

DESPERATE CARGO by Mohamed Hafez 2016, 365 × 120 × 100 cm Mixed-media installation, plaster, paint, oat, found objects, MP3 player, rusted metal, lighting. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MATCHSTICKMEN INSTALLATION by Wolfgang Stiller 2010, each 160 cm Wood, paint. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MATCHSTICKMEN INSTALLATION by Wolfgang Stiller 2010, each 160 cm Wood, paint. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

British artist John Dilnot’s visually poetic boxes whimsically subvert our human need to catalogue and contain nature. In this most recent work, “Bad Apples”, the artist revisits childhood memories of playing amongst the apple trees in his grandparents garden in Kent with a box containing rows of diseased "bad" apples neatly arranged on shelves. An ode to a lost Eden, both in a personal and more general sense, the beautifully rendered rotting fruits subvert the idea that decay is "bad", constituting in effect a humorous and liberating musing on the inevitability of mortality and mutation.

Swedish audio-visual artist and woodworker Love Hultén handcrafts bespoke wooden synthesizers whose whimsical design belies elaborate electronic circuits – case in point, “VOC-25”, a vocal synthesizer featuring 25 sets of plastic teeth, each set representing a unique note on the keyboard. Meanwhile, Melbourne-based architect Jan Van Schaik constructs scale-models of architectural ruins made from repurposed Lego pieces for his “Lost Tablets” series with each object named after a lost or destroyed ship and rendered in a distinct LEGO colour such as bright pink or sandy green.

FLEETWING by Jan Van Schaik 2021, 19 × 24.5 × 4.8 cm Reconfigured Lego. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

FLEETWING by Jan Van Schaik 2021, 19 × 24.5 × 4.8 cm Reconfigured Lego. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

VOC-25 by Love Hultén 2020, 55 × 40 × 40 cm Wood, plastic teeth, and electronics. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

VOC-25 by Love Hultén 2020, 55 × 40 × 40 cm Wood, plastic teeth, and electronics. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

CRAY 1 SUPERCOMPUTER, 1975 by Docubyte. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

CRAY 1 SUPERCOMPUTER, 1975 by Docubyte. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

TUBE by Michael Johansson 2013, 36 × 36 × 81 cm Yellow and orange bags, boxes, and ordinary items. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

TUBE by Michael Johansson 2013, 36 × 36 × 81 cm Yellow and orange bags, boxes, and ordinary items. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

NO # 08 by Clemens Gritl, 2020, 90 × 160 cm Architectural computer model printed on Hahnemühle. Photo Rag Baryta. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

NO # 08 by Clemens Gritl, 2020, 90 × 160 cm Architectural computer model printed on Hahnemühle. Photo Rag Baryta. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

Indian husband and wife art duo Hari & Deepti craft intricate paper cut artworks that double as light boxes as an imaginative visualization of storytelling, while English paper artist Helen Musselwhite uses paper to create elaborately detailed and vibrantly colourful editorial content. Just as colourful are the scrapbook-style collages of British artist Maria Rivans who intertwines fragments of vintage ephemera with vivid, often humorous, imagery that references film and TV in order to spin bizarre and dreamlike tales.

In what possibly best encapsulates the essence of box art, are, Swedish artist Michael Johansson’s cubic sculptures made from a variety of different sized discarded, incongruous objects that have been assembled into orderly, perfectly geometrical objects. Tightly packed and meticulously stacked, Johansson’s assemblages boggle the mind in their unexpected coherence as well as ultimately summarize the crux at the very heart of box art: making something unique from something otherwise ordinary.

THE JOY & DEMONS OF CREATIVITY by Helen Musselwhite 2013, 50 × 30 × 10 cm Editorial artwork commissioned by Dance Gazette magazine Overall winner at the 2014 V&A Illustration Awards. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

THE JOY & DEMONS OF CREATIVITY by Helen Musselwhite 2013, 50 × 30 × 10 cm Editorial artwork commissioned by Dance Gazette magazine Overall winner at the 2014 V&A Illustration Awards. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MY ANGEL MACHOOCHOO by Stephen Wright 2015, 101 × 140 × 20 cm Stitched fabric, objects and paint. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

MY ANGEL MACHOOCHOO by Stephen Wright 2015, 101 × 140 × 20 cm Stitched fabric, objects and paint. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

ME TARZAN, YOU MAD MEN by Maria Rivans 2015, 61 × 86.5 × 12 cm Collaged paper and ephemera. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

ME TARZAN, YOU MAD MEN by Maria Rivans 2015, 61 × 86.5 × 12 cm Collaged paper and ephemera. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

THE VALLEY OF KRUM by Hari & Deepti 2019, edited scene from The Seekers (Knopf Books). Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

THE VALLEY OF KRUM by Hari & Deepti 2019, edited scene from The Seekers (Knopf Books). Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

BLUE TWO . . . BALE OUT by D*Face 2018, 55 × 55 × 6.5 cm Emulsion and enamel on east London found objects. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

BLUE TWO . . . BALE OUT by D*Face 2018, 55 × 55 × 6.5 cm Emulsion and enamel on east London found objects. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books.

Book cover. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books

Book cover. Courtesy of Tom Buchanan and 8 Books

Out of the Box: A Book that Celebrates the Lost Art of Collecting in an Increasingly Digital World

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