Unfolding: The Paper Art and Science of Matthew Shlian
Thames & Hudson, 2021
Since its invention in c.100 BC, paper has been a cornerstone of civilization and a key component of the human experience. Artist Matthew Shlian has always recognized paper’s significance as a material for experimentation and understanding. In his hands, engineering, science and geometry can all be expressed within the medium of paper. Folded, tessellated, compressed, extrapolated – two-dimensional paper becomes three-dimensional sculpture in beautiful and unexpected ways. Unfolding is a complete overview of Shlian’s oeuvre over the past ten years, including small- and large-scale works, unseen development sketchbooks, collaborations with scientific researchers and scientists, three-dimension reliefs and sculpture – all in paper. Printed in full colour on two paper stocks, the book features an introduction by Diana Gaston, an interview between Stuart Kestenbaum and the artist, and essays by acclaimed writer Lawrence Weschler and Islamic design scholar Eric Broug. In keeping with the geometric underpinning of Shlian’s work, the dimensions of the book are ’16 cubed’: 16cm squared by 16cm squared by 16 signatures of 16 pages. Unfolding is a journey into the new possibilities of folding technology, the intricate complexities of Islamic patterns, and the sheer potential offered by a simple sheet of paper.