Of the 187 billion pounds of paper produced on our planet every year, how many are used this creatively? A distinctly modern variant of classic origami art, these three-dimensional paper cut artworks rise up from the page as if the paper were coming alive – animated shapes, scenes and figures carved crisply from generic white paper stock.
The sheets themselves are technically blank (canvasses, if you will) from which Peter Callesen cuts his storybook forms, bent upward and back in on one another – both liberated but also still tied to the page from whence they came.
Paper-making was once itself a fine artisan craft, but in the age of mass-production it has become a standardized and recognizable object the world over. The most universal, generic and familiar paper was intentionally chosen by the artist as something that people can relate to – the ordinary made unique and unusual.
While his small-scale works may be the most widely known, Callesen has also created many framed pieces based on similar techniques as well as large installation artworks likewise revolving around paper cut, bent, glued and reshaped into forms both familiar and fascinating.
More information about Peter Callesen’s gorgeous paper cut works, straight from the artist:
“Lately I have worked almost exclusively with white paper in different objects, paper cuts, installations and performances. A large part of my work is made from A4 sheets of paper. It is probably the most common and consumed media used for carrying information today. This is why we rarely notice the actual materiality of the A4 paper. By taking away all the information and starting from scratch using the blank white A4 paper sheet for my creations, I feel I have found a material that we are all able to relate to, and at the same time the A4 paper sheet is neutral and open to fill with different meaning. 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.”
“Recently I have worked with the notion of complexity in the piece ‘White Diary’. It presents a human head with a sketchbook in the centre. Out from the pages of the book grows a complex thought-process as an imaginative landscape filled with details and fairytale stories. This maze mapping of the brain shows at the same time confusion and a feeling of getting lost in the detail, which in turn disables any rational overview for a while. Not until the sculpture is seen at a distance and its entirety drawn in can you create order in the chaos.”