For many, paper is material of memory. The purity of blank paper has been inspiring numerous inventors, scholars, and artists to fill up its potential with their splendid imagination. While the same white square is given to all, the creativity of individuals births infinitely varied works. Daelim Museum hopes to share the ingenuity of ten artists who have worked with this fascinating material in Paper, Present (2017).
Since 2011, Daelim Museum has been hosting a number of trendy art exhibitions with the mission of “a museum where daily life becomes an art.” From this winter to summer, the gallery presents again such an exhibition, named Paper, Present. The gallery, which was originally built as a fourstory private house, utilizes its structure best with an arrangement of seven sections in total from the first floor to the fourth floor. Featuring ten artist teams and collaborations with a number of corporations including Swarovski, the exhibition re-highlights the beauty of paper in ten different ways. Gazing at its diverse features, the audience is to be amazed at the inexhaustible possibility a square sheet contains.
Going Back to Nature
As soon as visitors enter the first section, they will be amazed by the beauty of 3D sculptures solely made from paper. The common characteristic of Richard Sweeney, Tahiti Pehrson, and atelier oi lies in their pure enthusiasm towards paper. The artists each focus on features of nature, such as waves, rays of sunlight and wind, effectively visualizing the innate beauty of paper. There is little room for flashy colors among the sea of white, yet the artists show that making a dazzling piece of artwork is possible even with simple folding and an adhesive.
▲ Tahiti Pehrson, The New Beginning, 2017, Paper, 792 (W) 183 (H) cm
Geometric 3D shapes are not so rare in this highly technologized world, where any grotesque shapes can come into reality with the help of 3D printers. Still, Richard Sweeney’s amazing 3D paper artworks are unique in that they conserve the organic feeling that paper has. Because Sweeney defines paper as a material “waiting to be folded,” his paper sculptures do not rely on any help from machines and are constructed entirely by hand, like origami. Fluid curves and elaborate creases of the paper sculptures drastically break paper’s associations with angles, squares and boxes—folded as well as Sweeney has done, it can even resemble a bubble of fresh cream.
Delicate patterns on huge paper sheets by Tahiti Pehrson, the wizard of paper cutting, are said to have reached the apex of elegance. As shadows are part of his artwork, light arrangement and height, both used to great advantage in the sunlight-inspired “The New Beginning” and “The Rising Body,” are worth noting. While the dazzling hand cuttings on a great expanse of pure white paper gives an impression of holiness, the patterns of shadow reflected on the opposite walls resemble midday sunlight breaking over the world on a peaceful day.
The first floor ends with a room entirely decorated by a design studio named atelieroi. Here, the studio has hung delicate paper mobiles all about the area. One mobile consists of 31 simple paper flowers, whose fluttering shapes give a new feeling to the fractal figures student audiences may have learnt in high school. As the dense clusters of flowers dance with every breath of wind, visitors are soon transported into a cherry blossom wonderland. Poet Lee adds to the atmosphere with his phrase: “Love blossoms at your touch, just as flowers blossom at a warm wind’s touch.”
Is It Really Made of Paper?
As the visitors finish their appreciation of the first floor and take the stairs to the second floor, they are soon faced with a room where paper meets reality. Everyday objects such as vases or dishes from four artists—Studio Job, TORAFU ARCHITECTS, Tord Boontje, and Jule Waibel—illustrate how comfortable and familiar a presence paper can become in everyday life. At first, they may seem like just normal vases woven with fabric; later, one realizes that they are made of paper. The surprised ask questions such as “Wait, is it really made of paper?” as they pass by.
The three teams try to show “a surprise hidden in plain sight” by representing our ordinary living space. In the kitchen-like room, nearly everything—whether it be a table, a chandelier, or a lamp—is made from paper. The solid structure of a table enables it to endure even the weight of a wine bottle, one of few elements displayed that are not made from paper. To add to the already astonishing sight, their ingenuity climaxes when the visitors realize that even doors are made from paper.
Reminiscence in Paper
What welcomes the patient visitors who went all the way to the third floor and entered the fifth section is a heavy, glimmering scent from a myriad of paper leaves. “Paper Work” designed by Maum Studio, is a room rimmed with thick beds of paper reeds and surrounded by walls of mirrors. These walls seem to transport the audience into a field that extends into infinity. Adding to the wide expanse of reeds, gentle music and ambient pink lightings add a cozy atmosphere to the room.
Meanwhile, the cascades of paper flowers from the ceiling in the other room create an artificial garden. As subtle gradations of color fill the white paper, the scenery creates the illusion that the audience is walking along a mysterious garden in a fantasy world. Crystals add soft sparkles which resemble rays of sunlight. Finally, a delicate flowery fragrance consummates the scenery of an arcane garden. With the infinite number of paper flowers reflected in the surrounding mirrors, the dreamy walk never seems to end.
Among people in their 20s and 30s, Daelim Museum is called “attendance checking museum” to show that its exhibitions are a must-visit for anyone who is interested in art. The usual crowd present in the gallery might be a disturbance to those seeking a leisurely stroll. However, the popularity of the exhibition shows that it has fulfilled the museum’s intention to provide enjoyment for a wide range of audiences. The delightful creativity in Paper, Present shows how a piece of paper can become everything, from dazzling background to furniture to jewelry.
Title: Paper, Present
Venue: Daelim Museum (Kyungbok PalaceStation, Line 4)
Period: From December 7, 2017, to May 27, 2018 (Closed on every Monday)