Cryptic Magic is an investigation into symbols. I am fascinated with their power and how they are given mysterious attributes to represent the spiritual. Some Ethiopian scholars see the origin of writing in symbols like these.
The book is presenting a vocabulary of signs and symbols to connect the physical and the emotional. Different Ethiopian symbols are laser cut on each page, their overlapping and intersection generate new meanings. The magnets embedded in the covers and the accordion structure allows the audience to interact with the book creating different connections between the symbols and compressing or extending the structure for more sculptural appearance.
HM paper, linen thread
About the artist:
Islam Aly is currently an assistant professor of Art Education in the Department of Art at the University of Northern Iowa. At Helwan University, Egypt he received a BA and an MA in Art Education; afterward, he graduated from the University of Iowa, with an MFA in Book Arts and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Art Education. His books explore the possibilities of historical bindings in contemporary book art practice. He has combined book traditions with digital technologies. His work is created at the junction between culture, technology, and aesthetics.