Book Room at Robert Langen Gallery shows stories in a new light

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Photo by Darien Funk

Book lovers and non-readers unite. There is an exhibit on our very own campus that you have to check out.

On a cool Thursday evening where the snow was hitting like tiny ice pellets falling from a gloomy sky, I wandered over to the Laurier library to get a coffee and kill some time. I had heard of a so-called “book room” exhibit from a social media post and thought it sounded interesting. How ironic: a book room within a book building.

Nevertheless, as I walked into the library, there was a doorway to an open room on my left.

This room, as some may know, is the Robert Langen Art Gallery.

This art gallery is Laurier’s own visual arts centre. Some of you may recognize the name or the space, but many people have never stepped foot inside. No shame, visiting the Book Room was my first time visit to the gallery.

When I entered the room, there was a small table against the wall with a series of brochures and information sheets where I learned that the artist behind this exhibit was a Toronto-based artist named Rochelle Rubenstein. After picking up a couple brochures, I turned to enter the exhibit and stopped at the sight of the beauty that took over the room.

I am convinced that you do not need to be a booker lover to fall in love with this sight. As soon as I walked into the gallery, it wasn’t just about seeing a room of books anymore. It became an experience: one of love, hate, sadness, light, darkness, and serenity.

From floor to ceiling I stared at the pages of books, removed from their spines and strung together in vertical strands where each page illustrated a different story, back and front.

Covering the papers were illustrations of birds, animals, fruit, architecture, furniture, people and more. They were each drawn in their own unique and colourful ways.

Amongst the drawings of life were pages filled with words. A series of fonts covered the surface. Dark, thick, thin fonts — sometimes underlined with wire and sometimes covered with papers to create a flap on the page.

The pages were hung to create divisions in the room. On each length of the room was a corridor where one wall was drywall and one was a string of stories. There were cushions on the floor that I think were placed there for people to sit and sate.

At least I hope they were, because I sat there for an hour just staring at the stories of love, loss, and heartache. “Wake up” read one page. “There is no repetition, just resistance,” read another.

Rubenstein created an exhibit out of something that so many people take for granted. Books

aren’t just for school and readings — they are beauty and art in their own form.

After taking part in this experience, my message to you is that there truly is beauty in everything.

It is all around you. Sometimes all it takes to feel something new is to try seeking familiar things from a new perspective. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes every so often. Most importantly, listen to what other people have to say.

Rubenstein found a way to display books — something I’m sure every one of you have — in a way that makes you see new stories in a different light.


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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.