Born in Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1971, Ilan Sandler and his family emigrated to Toronto six years later. Ilan studied at the University of Toronto, where he received a B.Sc. in Physics, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he completed an Honours Fine Arts certificate. In 2000 he was awarded an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Ilan then went on to teach at the University of the Arts and Moore College of Art and Design, and most recently at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He is currently living and running a studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is the Executive Director of the Centre For Art Tapes.For more information on Ilan Sandler consult his extensive website.
THE BOOK is a steel sculpture with two pages torn away from its spine. The spine is perpendicular to the ground, the covers are open, and the pages appear to blow in the wind. From the highway viewers see a book that looks as if it were lifted by the wind and oriented towards a sheet that has already escaped its binding. Because the scale of the book is enlarged, the sculpture becomes anthropomorphized and appears to be performing a choreographed dance with the escaping page. The rigid steel plates look animated because of the pages articulation as rolling forms suggesting a drama between pages and books, readers and words, languages and alphabets, as well as writers and ideas. From the vantage point of the highway, one can see the sculpture as a representation of a literary struggle: despite the attempt to bind ideas together, a page of thoughts escapes.
Although most books tend to be read from front to back, THE BOOK's gesture can be absorbed by viewers in an instant as they drive by the installation. However, viewers who have an opportunity to get closer to the site will recognize that the holes in the steel pages form clusters of words. The clustered texts link the letters of the Latin alphabet to its predecessors, which include the Phoenician alphabet that emerged from Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Phoenician letters that developed from Egyptian hieroglyphs were used to represent syllabic sounds of Semitic languages dating to approximately 2000 B.C. Carvings of a twenty-two character Phoenician alphabet from 1000 B.C. have been linked to earlier carvings from approximately 1750 B.C. (known as the Wadi el-Hol script) that have been inspired by particular Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Each cluster of letters on the page ripping out of THE BOOK are
symbols that were developed from architectural and technological innovations.
The letters on the freed page were derived from parts of the human
body. As light passes through the outlines of the characters in the
book their projections continue to change and the letters and symbols
shift into forms that are less familiar. The future imprints of text
on a page are dependent on their ancestral roots as well as the symbolic
languages, codes, and alphabets that are evolving out of our contemporary
society. The steel book is a monument poised between eras in the evolution
Ilan Sandler 2006
Notes on the Origins of the Latin alphabet
It is surmised that members of a Semitic tribe, possibly working as mercenaries or scribes within the Egyptian army, developed a notation for purely utilitarian purposes: in order for the mercenaries to communicate amongst themselves and keep track of the names and other information pertaining to captured troops, they developed a kind of shorthand notation that was syllabic in structure. Since the hieroglyphic system contained over three thousand characters and was therefore difficult for outsiders to learn, the idea of simplifying the writing system into a syllabic system allowed language to be more simply expressed phonetically. An example of the evolution of a letter can be seen in the Latin letter B. In order to make it easy for someone to remember that a certain symbol represented a “B” sound, a shape was used that originated from a hieroglyph that began with “B”. In ancient Hebrew for example the word BAYT means house, and thus from an Egyptian hieroglyph of a floor plan of a reed shelter a symbol was derived that over a thousand years came to look like a Phoenician character of a triangular domicile with a pillar attached to it. The modern day form of the letter B evolved through a number of civilizations that included Greek and Etruscan writing systems.
Sources for further reading:
Sacks, David. Letter Perfect: The Marvelous History of Our Alphabet from A to Z .
Broadway Books. Random House Inc. USA. 2004
Albright, William Foxwell., The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and their Decipherment.
Harvard University Press. USA. 1966
M.F.A., Digital Media and Sculpture/Installation, 2000. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
A.O.C.A.D., 4 year Honors Fine Arts, 1997. Ontario College of Art and Design
B.Sc. Physics 1994. University of Toronto
Nova Scotia Culture and Heritage Grants to Artists 2005.
Canada Council Creations/Productions Grant Visual Arts, 2003.
Finalist, Septa Arts in Transit, “Local Tracks,” Philadelphia 2001.
First Prize, Philadelphia Sculptors Society, 5 into 1 Exhibition 2000.
Penna. Academy of the Fine Arts Master’s Tuition Scholarship, 1998-2000.
Ontario College of Art and Design, Award for media studies, 1996.
Metcalfe, Robin. Sense Impressions Three Senses Catalogue, 2005
McElroy, Gil. Double Storey, Espace Magazine, Winter 2003
McElroy, Gil. Double Storey, Art Papers, Nov 2003
Walker, Susan. Double Storey, The Toronto Star, June 7, 2003
Legge, Elizabeth. Double Storey, TSG May, 2003
Seidel, Miriam. Arrest, January, 2003
Public Art Review. Pulse, November, 2002
Suh, Sangsuk. Arrest, Woganmissol Korean Arts Magazine, September, 2001
Hagen, Susan. Solitary Assignment, Philadelphia City Paper, August 30, 2001
Sozanski , Edward J. Crime and Punishment, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 10, 2001
Clowney, Peter. Arrest, WHYY Radio, July 2001
Fallon, Roberta. Arresting Art, Philadelphia Weekly, May 2001
Weisner, Jeff. On A Role, Peddling Ideas, Philadelphia City Paper, September, 2000
Darr, Jennifer. Going Once Going Twice, Philadelphia Weekly, November, 1999
2005 St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, Three Senses, Halifax NS.
2005 Vertex List, Petriflight, Williamsberg, NY.
2003 Halifax Harbour, An Ear To The Sky, Halifax NS.
2003 Toronto Sculpture Garden, Double Storey, Toronto ON.
2002 – 03 Arts in Transit, Pulse, Outdoor Public Installation, St. Louis MO.
2001 – 03 Eastern State Penitentiary, ARREST, Audio Installation, Philadelphia PA.
2000 Tour of the Portable Modular Staircase, Philadelphia PA.
2000 Peddling ideas, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadelphia PA.
1999 Sighting the Sight, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadelphia, PA.
1998 Grates, Grids, Grottos, Penna Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA.
2004 Foreign/Domestic, ArtSpace, New Haven CT.
2003 Probing The Distance, CAFKA, Kitchener ON.
2003 D.U.M.B.O. Art Under The Bridge Festival, Brooklyn NY
2003 Encodings, Cummings Gallery, New London CT.
2003 The Seat of the Imagination, Abbington Art Center, Philadelphia PA.
2002 One Sky Above, The Burnished Chariot, New London CT.
2002 D.U.M.B.O. Art Under The Bridge Festival, Brooklyn NY.
2002 Speak, In-Liquid at the Painted Bride, Philadelphia PA. 2001 Flight,
Abington Art Center, Philadelphia PA.
2001 Demolition, Rosenwald Wolff Gallery, Univ. Of the Arts, Philadelphia PA.
2001 Faculty Exhibition, Moore Galleries, Philadelphia PA.
2000 MFA Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia PA.
2000 5 into 1, Philadelphia Sculptors, Pennsylvania CC., Philadelphia PA.
1999 Sold Out, Freeman's Auction House, Philadelphia, PA.
1998 Eklektika, Side Show Gallery, Brooklyn, PA.
1998 Eklektika, White Box Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.
2003 Toronto Sculpture Garden, Toronto ON. 2002 “Pulse” Arts in Transit
public art commission, St. Louis Mo.
2001 Alternate for Arts in Transit public art commission, SEPTA Philadelphia PA.
1999 Hand forged steel text for Xu Bing, Anima, Animal, Animus PS1 Queens NY. 1999
Outdoor Steel and Stone Sculpture, M. Shrestha, Philadelphia PA.
2003 Probing The Distance, The Roaming Eyeball, CAFKA, Kitchener ON.
2003 Encodings, The Roaming Eyeball, Cummings Gallery New London CT.
2000 Interment, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia PA.
1999 Sighting The Sight, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadelphia PA.
1998 The Street, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum,
Hamilton Auditorium, Philadelphia PA.