dOCUMENTA13: Bibliophilia

This is the Schildbach Xylotheque (from the Greek xylon for wood and theque for repository).
These specimens were collected by naturalist Carl Schildbach in the late 18th century.
The 530 'books' in the collection are made from the wood, branches, twigs, flowers and leaves of 441 local tree species. They have been moulded and carved into monograph format, with the spine displaying the natural appearance of bark from trunk or branch.
Within is a diorama of the flowering and fruiting bodies of the species, and a written botanical description.

Mark Dion (American, b1961) was commissioned by dOCUMENTA13 to rehouse the Xylotheque for permanent exhibition in the Ottoneum (Kassel's museum of natural history, one of dOCUMENTA13's many venues). Known for his work exploring the aesthetic of the Wunderkabinetts/ cabinets of curiosity, as well as his appropriation of various archaeological and scientific methods, his work often investigates the exhibition of objects. Perfect, then, for this task.

Dion added six books to the Xylotheque, including one made from trees planted by Joseph Beuys in 1982 for dOCUMENTA 7, for the Land Art work 7000 Oaks.