Brazilian photographer and architecture student Vinícius Vitoriano Barbosa, based in São Paulo, has recently created a minimalist photographic paper series titled, Less is More. The whole concept of the project can be summarised in this phrase by legendary abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. Vitoriano explains that the goal was to find an object as simple as possible that was capable of creating diversity, textures, shadow and light: the essence of photography. The chosen object to achieve this, was paper. Through this simple and commonplace industrialised material, were framed compositions of organic shapes that recall nature. What I particularly like about this project is that it gives the viewer a chance to be in touch with the essence of photography, rather than distract them with the trivial. Vitoriano has produced something really quite beautiful with this series. Less is indeed more.
Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!
Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson, a Minimalissimo favourite, conceptualised Your House. The book, designed in 2006 by Michael Heimann and Claudia Baulesch, is a limited-edition artist’s book with a laser-cut negative impression of Eliasson’s house in Copenhagen. Each of the 454 pages are individually cut and corresponds to 2.2 cm of the actual house. Commissioned by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Your House is a remarkable arrangement of cutouts and imagery presented in a minimalist yet technical format. Readers gradually build a physical and mental narrative, whilst also examining the perceptual and spatial experience of domestic architecture of the house. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of the 225 printed copies (perhaps one day), I love of the combination of sculpture and architecture and the illusion of being inside the house.
Sydney-based freelance designer and paper artist Bianca Chang has created a beautiful bespoke collection of 3-dimensional letterforms – Works in Paper. The recreation of the 3D effect was achieved by hand-plotting and cutting multiple sheets of 80gsm 100% post consumer waste recycled paper. This minimises the impact of paper consumption and consciously transforms a typically disposable medium into a long term piece of art. Whether or not you’re a type fiend, the shadow-play and subtlety of tones are undeniably brilliant.
The Argentinean sculptor and painter, Lucio Fontana quite literally cuts through modern art, with these iconic paintings. The slashes through the monochromatic paintings, which he describes as an art for the Space Age, with which its concepts are very much ahead of his time, still lingers in my mind today. You can catch some of Fontana’s famous series “Buchi o Tagli” (holes or slashes) this month from the 27th of September at the Robilant+Voena in London.
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” That’s what Michaelangelo said, some 500 years ago. I could also easily have been a quote from contemporary artist Peter Callesen, were it not that Calleson’s material isn’t marble – it’s paper. When I look at a sheet of A4 paper, I see a printable object. Callesen however sees little stories, hidden within them: failytales, romantic encounters, or dramatic tragedies. Through delicate cuts, the artist allows tiny, fragile figures to erect themselves from the paper – but without ever escaping where the material they came from.