Peter Callesen: Paper Artist

Peter Callesen, Birds Trying To Escape Their Drawings, 2005, 90 x 128 x 6 cm
Acid free 115 gms paper and glue

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.

Peter Callesen, Snowballs II, 2006, A4 Acid free 115 gms paper and glue
Photo: Anders Sune Berg

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 two-dimensional space left by the cut points out the contrast to the three-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.

Peter Callesen, Looking Back, 2006, Acid-free A4 115 gms paper and glue

Some of the paper works are coloured and framed. Others are larger installations such as one to one copies of stairs and ladders made out of thin white paper. They deal with dreams and the impossible. But the stairs and ladders represent a more fragile and almost sublime form. The trashy style in earlier works has developed into a more precise aesthetics. 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.

Peter Callesen, Fall, 210 x 240 ( h) x 70 cm, Acid free paper 140 gsm
Photo: Adam Reich

Peter Callesen was born in Herning, Denmark in 1967. He studied architecture, but then switched to studying art at the Jutland Art Academy and later at Goldsmiths College in the UK. His work has been widely published around the world and he is currently exhibiting in Paris, London, Copenhagen, and Winston-Salem (North Carolina). Peter lives and works in Copenhagen.