Monday, 23 January 2012

An Edinburgh Mystery

Apologies for the lateness of this blog - I'm sure those from further north than the south coast will have picked up this delightful story much earlier.

Since March last year small, beautifully sculpted paper sculptures have been appearing at intervals anonymously in various institutions across Edinburgh. The first one was the poet tree which was left in the Scottish Poetry Library with a note attached - “It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… … We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)”
The series ended in November when the Phantom artist returned to the Poetry Museum and deposited this sculpture of a bird and gloves (see detail below) along with a sign off note.

 In all ten sculptures made from books ranging from Ian Rankin to Jules Verne were left in venues such as the Edinburgh Book Festival, the Filmhouse, the Scottish Story Centre and the National Library of Scotland.
There is speculation as to the meaning of the gifts - is it a publicity stunt to promote Unesco's Edinburgh City of Literature, a protest against cuts to the arts and Libraries in particular, or a gesture of thanks to institutions that mean much to the artist.
The Artist (by her admission) is a woman and is an artist but doesn't usually work with cut paper or books. Her notes speak of thanks to the institutions. Some people claim to know the identity of the artist but wish to keep the secret intact, others have searched but have given up the search quickly knowing that the mystery is far more powerful than the solution.
Whatever the intention is has focused attention on various institutions which in their own differing way go to help make Edinburgh a very civilised special city. And if a protest it is a protest achieving much in a very stylish, skilled and patient way.

Read the full story in many places including Central Station

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