A previous post about Nick Flynn, haphazardly destroying vases in a museum, reminded me of a project that I got to know in 2009. The great Dutch designduo Coup! made a book which is the documentation of a project by the English conceptual artist Simon Starling (1967) in the Ateliergebouw of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Starling built three exact copies of a 17th century sculpture of Atlas by Artus Quellinus I, then deliberately dropped them to the ground, where they smashed into pieces. These pieces were carefully collected, the sculptures fully restored and then exhibited in the restoration building of the Rijksmuseum.
The book is designed in two parts: construction and reconstruction. Following the pages on the right only, the first part starts with the creation of the replicas and ends just a split second before the dropping takes place. Following this ‘turning point’ by turning the book upside down, and continuing to read the pages on the right only, it documents the entire reconstruction and also reads from the end back to the beginning.