Andrea Mastrovito transforms hundreds of text books into striking installations. Two dimensional images become alive: butterflies swarm, a colony of bats hangs from the ceiling, cats stalk rodents amongst a sprawling carpet of plants. Inspired by H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau – Andre called his trompe-l’oeils The Island of Dr. Mastrovito and The Island of Dr. Mastrovito II – the work first appeared at New York’s Governors Island in 2010.
“It was October 2009,” says Andre. “I was in New York with my assistants working on an enormous installation for the Museum of Art and Design. In the evening, after having worked for 12-14 hours, I often walked by Strand Books, this huge bookshop between 12th street and the Broadway, where I used to look for new ideas for new works. I ran into this amazing volume exclusively about bats, the kind of stuff I’ve never seen in Italy. I was struck by the idea of covering a whole ceiling with books of that genre.”
“In the beginning you’ve got a flower,” he adds. “From the flower comes a tree. From the tree we obtain wood, from wood paper and from paper books. And in the end, with just few cuttings, I’ve gone back to the original flower.”
As with Thomas Allen’s book covers, Mastrovito gets to create a story, playing the role of talent scout, casting director, stage manager, lighting supervisor, and film editor.