'The Book' sculpture relocated from Highway 401 to Mississauga square

It's a really big book and now it has a brand new home in Mississauga where people can look at it up close.

Artist says The Book can 'gesture to the people' from its new location

Artist Ilan Sandler says The Book was taken apart, put on a truck and moved to its new location from its previous home by the side of Highway 401 near Toronto's Pearson Airport. He says it's in a more pedestrian-friendly environment near the library. (Ilan Sandler)

A large painted steel piece of public art in the shape of a giant book has found a new home in Mississauga.

The Book, a sculpture of an open book with a red cover and pages that appear to billow in the wind, was unveiled Tuesday in the southeast corner of Mississauga Celebration Square.

The sculpture has been on display for eight years by the side of Highway 401 near the south end of Toronto's Pearson Airport. One page is ripping out of the book, while another page is completely free of the book about 15 metres away.

"It can in itself gesture to the people and city hall. Part of its structure is this fleeting page, which is in a sense blowing toward the library, " Ilan Sandler, the artist who created The Book, told CBC's Metro Morning.

Sandler says it now has a "very good home." One truck moved the sculpture in four pieces. It was reassembled in the last 10 days.

"The object is covered with symbols, all of which have evolved from early alphabets," Sandler said.

"In the centre of these clusters of shapes and images are Roman letters. Surrounding each one of them are their predecessors. It's kind of a pictographic history of the English language."

When it was commissioned in part by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Sandler said the idea was that the artwork would eventually be moved to a more pedestrian friendly site and he had to have two sites in mind for it, an existing home and its future one.

"The site itself was interesting because of its expansiveness. It's an area where not only do you have people whipping by in vehicles, you have high winds and a very large sky."

Sandler said he was able to combine his interests in writing and books with an unusual site. 

"It's dramatic. It's an opportunity for the piece itself to perform. You cannot get close to it. You have to capture its essence in a minute or two," he said.

"The piece was born there but then had to be relocated."

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