Review of Oat Montien’s Ex-Libris at The Book Club, London

The enchanting nature of books is a childhood gift experienced long before we are able to understand the words on a page. This experience is something artist Oat Montien successfully evokes through his first solo show in London. The Book Club, based in London’s east end, plays host to the innovative Ex-Libris collection and sees the natural collaboration of books in The Book Club. Each work reflects the comforting retreat books offered in our early years.

The Ex-Libris exhibition is the tangible product of childhood inspiration, as Montien’s boyhood experiences as a librarian directly influenced its creation. The collection, which features vintage hardback books beautifully crafted into illustrative sculptures and collages, fully expresses this artists innovative techniques and talent.

Each piece is said to highlight the positive effects books have on development, character building and identity. The collection aims to bring the beholder into nostalgic escapism and a time when books were the doorway to another world into which our imaginings could retreat and, its characters were our best friends.

The artist, whose career began at the age of 17 and has since witnessed huge success and admiration, finds inspiration from the influence books have on the people we become. In this collection words and pages are brought to life, literally jumping out of the page to form beautiful, aesthetic pieces.

The St Martins Graduate focuses his work on the themes of identity, memory and myth which have made for solid and fantasy driven pieces, to which all book lovers can easily relate.

One particularly memorable piece is an interpretation inspired by The Raven a poem by legendary poet Edgar Allen Poe. The musically styled poem details a conversation between a distressed, love-scorned man and a talking raven. Montien’s interpretation of this work highlights the destructive nature of love and notes the classical references throughout the poem.

Ex-Libris certainly highlights why Montien is considered one of the most promising and innovative talents of his generation. Each piece views as a powerful memory of the fantasy-filled adventures inspired by a literary embedded youth. The exhibition has received hugely positive views and draws inquisitive crowds from The Book Club circle. This talented artists unique display will certainly make an impact on all who behold it.

Naomi Nightingale

Oat Montien: Ex-Libris, 9 May until 14 July, The Book Club, 100 -106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH.

Images courtesy the artist