These Paper Sculptures Require Precision

Matthew Shlian’s paper sculptures require careful planning and precision. Working side by side with scientists, he incorporates paper engineering into his sculptures, producing precisely folded geometric works that are perfect from every angle.

Shlian’s perfected folding technique was learned, according to him, through trial and error. “Getting something wrong is more important to learning than copying something perfectly,” he explains on his website, stressing the importance of doing things the “wrong way”.

According to Shlian, oftentimes his mistakes become more interesting than his original ideas and he ends up working with them instead. “I’d say my starting point is curiosity,” he says. “I have to make the work in order to understand it. If I can completely visualize my final result I have no reason to make it – I need to be surprised.”

“I start without a clear goal in mind, working within a series of limitations,” he relays. “For example, on one piece I’ll only use curved folds or make my lines this length or that angle, etc. Other times I begin with an idea for movement and try to achieve that shape or form somehow.”

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