by: Alison Flood
|'A true mystery' ... the paper sculpture left by an Ian Rankin admirer at the Edinburgh Filmhouse. Photograph: Jenny Leask|
Cut from the pages of a book, models were left at Edinburgh's Filmhouse Cinema and the National Library of Scotland last week. The Filmhouse creation is a model of a cinema, with a tiny paper Rankin sitting in the audience drinking a bottle of Deuchars and warriors on horseback leaping from the screen. The National Library, meanwhile, received a model of a coffin and a gramophone sculpted from a copy of Rankin's novel Exit Music. A note left with the Filmhouse's model read "For @filmhouse – a gift – In support of Libraries, Books, Words, Ideas ... & All things *magic*", while a quote from Francis Ford Coppola, "I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated", was cut and pasted onto the model.
Earlier this year, the Scottish Poetry Library found an intricate paper tree on a table, alongside a note saying "this is for your support of libraries, books, words and ideas". A gold-leafed paper egg shell beside the tree contained delicate paper bunting, which when unfurled made up the Edwin Morgan poem "A Trace of Wings", an elegy for the poet Basil Bunting.
"The rumour mill is fingering Ian Rankin in some kind of complex art-commission reverse heist. Hmmm. Well, if it is, and he commissioned some superb young paper artist to make such lovely things and leave them in Rankin-connected locations – every bloody location in Edinburgh is Rankin-connected – then quite frankly I [heart] Ian Rankin even more than before. My guess is it's not – but somebody who's a Rankin fan and a poetry fan and a book and film fan and a Twitter user who reads Edwin Morgan with an eye for tiny detail and subtlety," said Lilias Fraser, reader development officer at the Scottish Poetry Library.
Rankin said that "it has to be someone who knows my work" – although the Poetry Library sculpture has no obvious link to the author, Exit Music includes a scene at the venue. "But [it's] also a professional artist (or very gifted and patient amateur)," added the author.
Jenny Leask, the Filmhouse's programme and marketing coordinator, said the cinema's model had been left in the box office. "We've no idea who it was. It seems to be someone who supports arts and libraries in particular. But I don't really want to know who it is. They've gone to so much effort to be anonymous and I want to respect that."
Bryan Christie at the National Library of Scotland said he had "no suspicions" as to whom the sculptor could be. "It's a true mystery," he said. "Ian Rankin's said it's not him. They are very intricate and quite a lot of work and skill has gone into them. We'll have to wait and see if any pop up elsewhere."