At this time of year, I find myself reminiscing about the childhood joy of taking a pristine sheet of white paper and with a few folds, strategic snips, the gingerly opening of the cut form, et voilà, snowflake!
My paper cutting dexterity ends right about there, so I have considerable admiration for those gifted with the precision to create intricate works with paper and blade. That admiration turned to awe when I discovered the work of street artist, Swoon a couple of years ago. My amazement has been renewed more recently by Brooklyn-based artist Kako Ueda. I stumbled upon her work online in that serendipitous manner in which we find new information while searching for something else. I quickly bookmarked her site, as I was floored by the intricacies of her work.
Swoon’s 2007 installation at the Brooklyn Museum.
From Kako Ueda’s extensive website gallery, Speak Flower, hand-cut black paper, H 27″ x W 30″
Detail from Speak Flower.
Convinced by a video store employee’s hearty recommendation, I recently rented The Adventures of Prince Achmed, inspired by the Tales of the 1001 Nights. I was intrigued, the 1926 release, by a woman filmmaker, Lotte Reiniger, is the earliest extant animated feature film, each frame created by the shifting placement of paper silhouettes cut by hand, with the resulting image movement akin to shadow puppetry. Several examples of her work can be found on YouTube.
The title card from the 1926 German film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed.
A fragment of the film.
Béatrice Coron’s Sun City, Personal Cities Series, 2005. Cut Tyvek 48″ x 31″.
The panoramic silhouettes of yet another web surfing discovery, Béatrice Coron, recall the look of Reiniger’s work. Both Ueda and Coron are included in a group show currently mounted at the Museum of the Arts and Design. The fascinating exhibit, Slash: Paper Under the Knife, up through April 4, 2010 features a plethora of paper artists, female and male, including Mia Pealrman and Ariana Boussard Reifel whose works appear below, and the renowned Kara Walker.
Mia Pearlman’s Inrush utilizes natural light from the window “to blur distinctions between interior and exterior space.”
Ariana Boussard Reifel’s cut and altered book, Between the Lines, Book: 19 x 8 1/2 x 2 in.
Words: 8 in. diameter