Saturday, 5 April 2014


Just a pile of paper?*

Last year, I was lucky enough to catch The First Cut at Nottingham's Lakeside Art, an exhibition devoted to showcasing paper-based art. Beautiful paper cuts, sculptures large and small, a room transformed into a "Wonder Forest". Printer paper, newspaper, shopping bags and currency, books and card; the diversity of the exhibits was much greater than I had been expecting, especially considering the delicacy of their construction in some cases.

Rob Ryan was probably the only artist I had heard of beforehand- if you don't know the name, you may still be familiar with the reproductions of his paper cuts on mugs and cards available on the high street. I certainly appreciated the skill involved in creating the huge 3 metre papercut, The Map Of My Entire Life. First the sheer scale of this huge picture strikes you, then the tiny details of the town and grass draw you in before again marvelling at the looping chains, silhouettes of people and the incredibly detailed border.

Other artists' works included a life-size motorbike, flowerbeds, dresses, and spiralling plumes from floor to ceiling. World maps, hand grenades and guns made of currency, beautiful birds in flight and scenes carved out of books. Trees were formed from paper bags and paper scenes, sections staggered like miniature theatre sets evoked an air of the Fairy Tale about them - slightly fey, with a delicate beauty, Andrea Dezso's characters bordering on creepy.

It is difficult to pick a favourite, as I was delighted by many of the exhibits, but there are a few that come to mind first when recalling The First Cut. Béatrice Coron's Chaos City: each little window seemed so simply rendered, yet told it's own story - the thieves, the cocktail party, a family sitting down to dinner, the duel, and the film set.

Another favourite (slightly marred by the background sound in the gallery somewhat obscuring the narration) Going West by Andersen M Studio truly brought the pages to life: watch it below.

My favourite work by Peter Callesen, was the astonishing transformation of a single sheet of A4 paper into a tiny scene with huge impact. At first, I almost dismissed Mountain II as a sheet of crumpled paper, and was mildly disappointed. However on closer inspection there was something going on in the middle - what *was* that tiny thing? A person? Scaling a mountain? Wow.

Overall I was awed by the patience and dedication taken by all of the artists. We use paper every day in its more mundane and conventional forms: bank statements, reports, letters and shopping lists. Since The First Cut I certainly look at the reams of paper waiting to be churned through the printer a little differently. I wonder who is giving them a more exciting life elsewhere....

*NB - The photo is not of any of the exhibits, but a rather pretty pile of paper I spotted elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment