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04 · 01 · 2018

Peter Callesen: White Worlds in Danish Cultural Center

Peter Callesen White Worlds 6.1.-4.3.


From January 6, 2018, Peter Callesen’s unique art can be seen at the exhibition “White Worlds” in Danish Cultural Center in Beijing. In all 35 small, enclosed white worlds under glass that together present a universe of tragedy and comedy.


Tragedy and Comedy

Take a sheet of A4 paper, just an ordinary blank one as it comes from the copy machine tray. You can write on it, draw on it, but also cut into it. That’s precisely what Peter Callesen does, cut into it. Since 2004, this Danish artist has been transforming two-dimensional surfaces into mind-blowing three-dimensional sculptures by the means of a paper cutter.

His cutouts are intricate, revealing a painstaking craftsmanship. With great care and immense patience, Callesen creates white, hyper-aesthetic worlds of puns-in-paper, often making use of a tragic-comic slap-stick humour with a melancholic tinge.

Peter Callesen’s hands give the white surface of an ordinary A4 paper a narrative, or rather lots of narratives, stories, dramas, film clips. In ‘Downhill’ a small house is erected from the paper. In the background, up the hill, two balls of snow have been set into motion, it is only a matter of time before the house will be smashed to the ground by the force of the rolling balls.


Peter Callesen: Snowballs II (2005)

At least, this is what one would imagine, as the small sheet-like paper sculpture only shows the seconds before the disaster. As a still image, a frozen moment in time full of classic filmic suspense, it shows how a possible catastrophe will take place on the A4 paper, elegantly created by a few cuts and slices.



White Worlds consists of 35 small, enclosed white worlds under glass, together they present a universe of tragedy and comedy. For each of the worlds, Peter Callesen has used only one single sheet of A4 paper. In some cases, some of the paper may have been left over but none of the works consists of more than one sheet of A4.


Peter Callesen is widely known for his sculptures in paper. Particularly noteworthy are his works where the remains of the cut and folded objects are literally shadows of the objects former self. He uses the positive and negative space to tell a sometimes-dark story about the past and future of his subject using only a white sheet of paper. Callesen also works with a variety of other media including installations, performances, and monoprints.


Peter Callesen

The exhibition is produced for Danish Cultural Center with financial support from the Danish Art Foundation. It will be on display until 4 March, 2018.


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