Danger Book

‘Be careful of books. Be careful with books. Be careful or one can become a weapon-wielder. Be careful or one can become the victim’ -Cai Guo-Qiang

Artist books are not so much books as book-like objects. They are in themselves a work of art, they come in all shapes, sizes and forms, often challenging our notions of what constitutes a book. Artists have come up with some pretty inventive ways of presenting their work, however the most bizarre I have encountered is by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang.

Cai Guo-Qiang’s Danger Book is made up of a series of drawings made using gunpowder and glue. Within the pages is attached a bundle of matches with a string that dangles out of the edge of the book, inviting the reader to pull it and in so doing ignite the book and set off the gunpowder. Thus each book is unique and comes with a kind of performance included in the price.

Read The Transient Art of Cai Guo-Qiang

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Cai Guo Giang Suicide Fireworks
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Danger Books: Suicide Fireworks. Edition of nine unique books, one prototype and one artist’s proof. Each book is individually titled.
Height: 75 cm | Width: 41.4 cm | Depth: 2 cm

The video below is a documentation of the process of making a Danger Book:

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Dance of Death

skeleton puppet

Skeleton Puppet, courtesy The Richard Harris Collection.

Edge

By Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected.
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.