I love paper craft. I don’t do it as much now as I used to, but I particularly loved the little paper-craft monsters and creatures you could cut and fold to perfection. With only a printer, an exacto knife, and a free afternoon you could have an original piece of art akin to the Kid Robot vinyl toys – only A LOT cheaper. Paper cutting has been around as an art form forever, but only now are artists really pushing the boundaries to make more than just intricate silhouettes, literally moving their drawings off the paper and into our dimension.
Enter Peter Callesen, one of the most elegant paper artists I have seen in awhile.
Using mostly standard A-4 paper, Peter’s work takes the idea of paper-craft and folding and combines it with the elegant silhouettes of yore, leaving the connection to the page in his works and suggesting a literal lifting off the page. The works are given life and movement, seeming to be more than just creations, but real creatures striving to enter and move in our world. Peter seems to suggest this in his own writing, saying:
“The thin white paper gives the paper sculptures a frailty that underlines the tragic and romantic theme of my works. The paper cut sculptures explore the probable and magical transformation of the flat sheet of paper into figures that expand into the space surrounding them. The negative and absent 2 dimensional space left by the cut, points out the contrast to the 3 dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in many of the cuts.”
Tragic is probably one of the best ways to describe Peter’s work – not only in its fragility, but also in its themes. The works suggest death, ruins, loneliness, and the tenuous experience of human existence. Just as we could so easily be struck down, so too could his works be destroyed in an instant. The works move deeper into a religious scheme as well, implying the roads we take to avoid our pain and frailty. Peter writes:
“These works exist in the gap between the recognizable everyday object and the fragile and spherical condition and material in which they appear. The whiteness, the ideal pure copy of something real as well as the vertical direction coherent in most of my paper works, could also indicate the aspect of something platonic or religious.”
The beauty of Peter’s work has reached many people in the art world as well. He is part of many permanent collections throughout the world and has received numerous working grants since 2001. He even has his own wikipedia page. That’s the surest sign of success. I haven’t been able to find any information on him post 2010, but hopefully he is still creating works for us to be inspired by. In the meantime, his website has a wonderful array of images to explore.
I hope this post has inspired you to try some paper craft – it certainly has interested me to pick back up my exacto. I hope to have some really cool DIY’s coming up – my mind is simply bursting with ideas, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, keep conquering!
NOTE: All images are copyright Peter Callesen. They are used here for commentary and to promote the artist.