At first sight, Peter Callesen's art might seem insignificant, albeit nice to look at. It's just paper, you know. It reminds of origami, or of the small cardboard miniature buildings we all used to assemble as children : you cut, you fold, you glue, you have a castle - so what ? And then, if you take a closer look, you might be astonished, just as I have.
On a pure technical point of view, his works are brilliant. They're always made of a single paper sheet, in which a shape is cut and folded. No parts of the paper are ever removed, and the constructions always stay linked to the sheet by some part, so that if you unfolded it, you would just get your plain paper sheet back. And surprisingly enough, this technical choice brings a lot of sense to his artworks...
The whole meaning often comes from the fact that the construction is still linked to the empty shape in the paper, where it comes from. It feels, in some way, prisoner of the sheet, and sometimes seem to suffer greatly from this tragedy. In "Distant Wish", the poor paradise bird will never reach his flower, while in "The Impossible Meeting", the man will never be able to cross the distance to the lovely dancer. But the unbreakable link might also be a blessing in some cases !
With the simplest of effects and a disconcerting ease, Callesen creates great feelings of suspens and impending doom. A tsunami-like wave will have destroyed the poor castle made of sand in a second, and the canoe is tragicaly sailing towards the deadly waterfall. You just want to help the poor paper guys !
Some of his works are funny, like his ghosts hidden in the closet, and sometimes macabre and philosophical, like the skeleton looking back at his lost living shape, or the poor bird's carcass being eaten by flies. But I've talked to much, up to you now to have a closer look if you feel so inclined, there's a lot more to discover.
Peter Callesen manages a double magic trick : creating 3-D from 2-D, and bringing emotions with the simplest and cheapest of materials : a blank paper sheet. It's pure paper poetry...
Thanks to Cabinet of Wonder for making me aware of this artist.