Alexander Korzer-Robinson

“Through my work in the tradition of collage I am pursuing the very personal obsession of creating narrative scenarios in small format. Using antiquarian books, makes the work at the same time an exploration and a deconstruction of nostalgia. We create our own past from fragments of reality in a process that combines the willful aspects of remembering and forgetting with the coincidental and unconscious. On a general level, I aim to illustrate this process that forms our inner landscape.

By using pre-existing media as a starting point, certain boundaries are set by the material, which I aim to transform through my process. Thus, an encyclopedia can become a window into an alternate world, much like lived reality becomes its alternate in remembered experience. These books, having been stripped of their utilitarian value by the passage of time, regain new purpose. They are no longer tools to learn about the world, but rather a means to gain insight about oneself. The book pieces in the pictures have been made by cutting into the books, cutting around some of the illustrations and removing others. The composition is built only using the imagery that is already in a particular volume. I try to create hints of a narrative in my pieces without being too concrete, and this is something people seem to respond to. It is an invitation to the viewer to engage with the imagery, to enter into a dialogue with what they see.

As I work only with the contents that are in a particular volume, the inspiration starts at the point of choosing a book to work on. Then as I work on the piece the planning part is conscious decisions about what I want to make out of the book, but a lot of the inspiration comes out of a fluid process of engaging with the book I am working on. There are a lot of unconscious decisions and value judgments that come up in this “dialogue” with the medium. Besides planning and conceptualizing a piece I also try to allow for this element of an almost dreamlike forming of connections within the imagery. The result is a hollowed-out book with a layered composition that is reminiscent, in form, of Victorian paper theaters or dioramas. The books are sealed around the cut, so they can no longer be opened, but are meant to be either hung on the wall or can stand by themselves as an “objet d’art”. Most of my pieces are unframed and have a panel behind the cover to protect the delicate contents. Most of the books are about the size of your typical hardbound book, although I do prefer thicker books than the typical hardcover. I have also worked on some quite large books as well as very small pocket size books.

I love working with these old materials and engaging with a particular book as I am shaping it into something new. I also enjoy the process of finding new books to work with, spending hours in antiquarian book shops to find the right materials.”

Alexander Korzer-Robinson


Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Old England 1869, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Nouveau Larousse Illustre 5 1907, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Nouveau Larousse Illustre 6 1907, 2017. Collage, 30x22x5 cm.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, British Battles 1900, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, The Boy’s Own Annual 1895, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, The Girl’s Own Annual 1899, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm.

Alexander Korzer-Robinson, The Girl’s Own Annual 1891, 2017. Collage. 30x22x5 cm.