There are various materials that sculptors work with, such as stone, metal, plaster of Paris, cement and others. But, taking paper as a medium for sculpting is certainly something original and unique. This is what Felix Semper has a mastery on. He uses stretchable paper to create sculptures that look like stone busts, but are actually composed of layers of papers.
The source of Semper’s inspiration are abstract impressionists, street artists and his deep-rooted connection with Cuba and Spain. His sculptures are a way of expressing how he sees the world around him that allows the viewer to make a connection and enter into the world of imagination and ingenuity. His works offer a vision of the human capacity for passion.
Semper’s style reminds one of the work of a Chinese artist, Li Hongbo, who introduced the medium of stretchable paper and created paper busts on a range of classical and contemporary themes.
To create stretchable paper sculptures, Semper took his cue from the traditional marble stone busts. His twist to the sculpture is to create it using glued layers of paper. This bestows a fluid movement to the sculpture and gives it a playful mobility. The ability of his sculptures to stretch, twist, elongate and retract in an insightful new way appears much more endearing than traditional static aesthetic sculptures.
It is certainly a wonder how Semper manipulates the paper in such highly unusual ways. What he does is to carefully layer the intricately-carved stacks of paper in a seemingly solid bust only for it to become a fluidly moving object, when the paper is ‘stretched’.
Take the example of the sculpture of the late Brooklyn rapper ‘the notorious B.I.G.’ with a golden crown on his head that Semper immortalized in stretchable paper. The face can be picked up, moved and manoeuvred any which way in mind-boggling positions and postures.
He crafted this stretchable sculpture from hundreds of layers of glued paper. Each paper was carefully modelled around a portrait of the late rapper to give it an aesthetically solid appearance.
Semper is keen to display his creations to the masses, the reason why he chose to exhibit the ‘big poppa’ on the streets of New York city. On being asked why this is so, he said, “I like to take my sculptures from the art galleries to the public, so the average person that normally does not go to an art gallery can be introduced to art.”
Little wonder his creations are making waves on Instagram, Facebook and other social media, much like his stretchable paper sculptures!
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