Sculpture whodunnit solved

Garry Gale, who bought an early example of the artist's work, has followed our stories
Garry Gale, who bought an early example of the artist's work, has followed our stories
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His creations have delighted and baffled in equal measure and caused a sensation across the city.

Now, the identity of an artist who has been leaving sculptures fashioned out of books at cultural hotspots across the city has finally been uncovered.

The Evening News tracked down the man behind the mystery to the Edinburgh College of Art – but we have agreed to keep his name a secret for now.

Retired librarian Garry Gale, 60, first realised who the artist was having bought a sculpture earlier this year which looked uncannily similar to the ones being left as “gifts” throughout the city.

The artwork had been fashioned out of an old dictionary.

“I bought the sculpture from the Red Door gallery in Victoria Street,” he said.

“And then I saw one of the mystery sculptures in the newspaper and I thought, ‘that’s the same guy!’.

“I’ve been following what’s been going on with interest – I certainly do not want to blow his cover.

“He’s obviously doing a kind of Banksy type thing. It’s quite fun.”

Mr Gale bought the sculpture for his son, who is studying art and design in Dundee.

“It’s a dictionary, quite an old battered book. He has created cardboard ramparts and he has used some of the pages to make them look like they are exploding from the book.

“I think it’s called Flight of Fiction because the book has been turned into a mythical bird-type thing with wings.

“The idea seems to be the book is flying off into your imagination.

“It’s maybe the first one that he did – the sculptures now are getting even more intricate.”

The tally of sculptures left across Edinburgh in recent months currently stands at seven.

In March, the first – a model tree – was left at the Scottish Poetry Library with a handwritten note addressed to @ByLeavesWeLive – the name the library uses on Twitter.

Sculptures have been left at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Filmhouse, National Library of Scotland and two at the International Book Festival, one of which was gifted to the City of Literature.

The latest sculpture, a magnifying glass bearing a quote from the Scottish poet Edwin Morgan, was found sitting on a shelf at Edinburgh Central Library.

Councillor Deidre Brock, culture leader for the city council, said at the time: “Whoever is responsible for these lovely works of art across the city has created an intriguing and fitting modern day mystery for Edinburgh, the world’s first Unesco City of Literature.”

Some of the sculptures have had tags referring to Twitter accounts, with speculation the artist has been monitoring the furore surrounding them on the site. When approached by the Evening News, the artist was tight-lipped about his antics but hinted at further projects to come.

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com