Book of Creation, one of three books Pape produced between 1959 and 1962, is considered a prime example of early Neo–Concrete art. Consisting of fifteen unbound cardboard "pages," the book tells the story of the creation of the world through an elaborate, abstract composition composed of geometric forms. The book does not retell a specific creation myth, but invites each viewer to create his or her own narrative by "reading" and interpreting each page. Starting with the recession of water and continuing through the development of agriculture, fire, hunting, time, navigation, the solar system, and light, Pape reinforces an open reading with various adaptations and configurations. She said, "Through each person's experiences there is a process of open structure through which each structure can generate its own meaning."
Gallery label from New Perspectives in Latin American Art, 1930–2006: Selections from a Decade of Acquisitions, November 21, 2007–February 25, 2008.
“Book of Creation materializes real space,” Pape explained, because its colorful pages can be unfolded into three-dimensional abstract shapes. These “pop-up” sculptural forms use similar procedures of cutting and folding as other works in this room and the next. They also narrate the genesis of the world. Originally, viewers were meant to manipulate the work’s pages in different ways; thus “the book is revealed to each person as novel and unique,” Pape claimed, making its story open to diverse interpretations.
Gallery label from Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, October 21, 2019–March 14, 2020