Peter Callesen's Transformations

An email from reader Jake prompted me to repost this look at Peter Callesen, originally posted back in 2007. Enjoy!

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Angel, 2005
paper and glue in artist made frame
Peter Callesen

This beautifully written essay at Cabinet of Wonders, Mechanical Thinking and the Human Soul, includes some amazing sculptures by paper artist Peter Callesen. Callesen's A4 papercut series are razored from a sheet of paper and assembled, still tethered umbilically to their mother sheet, yet folded and glued into a 3D shape that responds to the original 2D negative space they departed.

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Halfway through, (detail), 2006
paper and glue
Peter Callesen

I recognized Callesen's work from various blogs, especially the dying-poppies piece Alive but Dead and the thinking skeleton Looking Back. But until seeing the pieces juxtaposed with each other, I hadn't realized what a wonderful sense of humor they have - superimposed on a sort of double spatial thinking that is really quite amazing.

His work reminds me of a favorite grade school pastime: writing multi-page lists of cursor instructions intended to draw a castle, which I would later input into a primitive Apple, to discover if I had successfully kept track of all the angles in my head, or if the drawbridge would end up sticking sideways off the battlements. Either way, I was breathless to see what the code would give me.

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Impenetrable castle, (detail), 2005
paper and glue
Peter Callesen

It's almost, but not quite, correct to say the reward of coding cursor castles was half in the planning, half in the final payoff. The potential for the castle was in the code already - it hardly needed to be executed. Typing it into the computer was the boring part. Nevertheless, it was surprisingly pleasurable when the imagined form became tangible so my eyes could appreciate it along with the mind. Callesen's works represent a similar intricate planning process, but instead of making the outcome merely an obligate test of a plan, he tweaks the 3D structures so they react against and defy their 2D shadow templates. Each one is something coming alive, changing unpredictably in the moment of transformation.

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Birds trying to escape their drawing, (detail), 2005
paper and glue
Peter Callesen

Peter Callesen is currently exhibiting in Denmark, and has forthcoming exhibitions in Sweden and Norway. He also has a new book out, and you can friend him on Facebook.

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Arrrgghhh... At once, writers, remember that you cannot always substitute "if" for "whether".

By Mas Que Nada (not verified) on 27 May 2010 #permalink

Mas Que Nada, perhaps you should remember that a blog is not a magazine, it has no editors, and generally speaking, I only have a few minutes to dash off a post. IF grammatical and stylistic imperfections cause you great mental anguish, or IF there is no anguish involved yet you find yourself compulsively writing grammar Nazi rebukes directed at people who don't care, there's a simple solution: don't read blogs! They're never perfect, so you are either causing yourself unneeded distress, or wasting your time, or both. Cheerio. :)

I second that Jessica. Who goes around correcting bloggers grammar? MAS QUE NADA does. Idiot.