Gossamer States (green) (2018)
laser-cut hanji (Korean paper)
32 x 18 in.
Having worked with the structural possibilities of paper for many years in pop-up structures, cards, books and 3d-based illustrations, my encounter with hanji in 2012 pushed my interest in the material’s dichotomy. The coexistence of strength and fragility in the Korean paper brings to mind a sense of grace and beauty. The resulting hanji-based work focuses on exploring the material as structure as opposed to surface, and manifests these seemingly opposing elements.
The Gossamer States series follows in the tradition of jeonji, Korean paper-carving, but shifts from the traditional hand-carved approach to using technology to push the boundaries of the material. Through laser-cutting I explore how much material can be removed while retaining the form and shape of the paper while illustrating multiple tensions.
The overlapping faces create a lace-like web in which the interconnectivity of all people is highlighted in a delicate yet resilient structure that holds itself together. A shift occurs in which the work then draws on its own surface materiality to form an image.
The initial sketches, drawn by hand, reveal strong individual characteristics in each face. The laser cutter then allows a digitized version to be precisely cut into the paper. The industrial nature of the tool allows for a precision beyond our own capabilities, yet the individual characteristics and attitude of the original drawings are retained.
© Christiane Grauert