wide awake garage
close this & return to gallery

Religio Mathmatica

Artist book by Daniel E. Kelm
unique copy


Religio Mathmatica was inspired by a toy given to Kelm by an English friend. He decided to include no words or images in the book, as he says, “to see if the body of the book could tell a story.” Using the alchemical color scheme (black = earth, white = water, yellow = air, red = fire) the unfolding of the book alternately exposes and hides differently colored surfaces, creating the potential for personal and open-ended interpretive narratives. Kelm, for example, feels that the closed red cube represents potential, or what he calls “undifferentiated energy.” When manipulated, forms can range from the “lotus flower” formation (with its symbolism of the birth of the world) to the line of mountainous shapes that Kelm calls the “three guardians.”

—Aprile Gallant, Curator, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Smith College Museum of Art

Produced with the assistance of Kylin Lee, Christopher Lenaerts, and Glenn Leonard.

Published by Daniel E. Kelm

Acrylic and corn starch paste on Canson mi-tientes paper with wire edge binding housed in a box of English yew wood with vegetable-tanned goatskin lining

In the artist’s collection.

Included in the exhibition Poetic Science: Bookworks by Daniel E. Kelm at Smith College Museum of Art.

Kelm collaborated with One Match Films to produce ten videos for the Poetic Science exhibition in 2007. These videos, commissioned by Smith College Museum of Art, were on display in the gallery for the duration of the show.



The closed book rises above the yew-wood enclosure.