The Artist Turning Books into Bodies

Monday February 25, 2019 Written by Ronan

Artist Lisa Nilsson dissects books and turns them into minutely detailed cross-sections of the human body. 

The technique, called 'quilling', consists of rolling narrow bits of paper into coils, which can be pinched together to fill up space. The artform started off as a way to reuse pages from old religious texts during the Renaissance, but it took Nilsson to discover how well the thin paper slices replicate the squishy nature of human anatomy, which cramps a lot into a relatively small space.

Any old paper will do, though for her Tissue Series Nilsson prefers to use Japanese mulberry, which is apparently great for producing very intricate folds. The science-meets-art aesthetic might seem a strange fit, but in Nilsson’s case it makes sense: the Massachusetts-based artist originally trained as a medical assistant.

Who said paper craft couldn't be medically accurate / kind of creepy?