This November, Long and Ryle gallery will be exhibiting a new series of fairytale
book-cut sculptures by Su Blackwell to coincide with the Thames and Hudson
publication of the title ‘The Fairytale Princess: Seven Classic Stories from the
Enchanted Forest’. Stories included will be the Princess and the Pea, Cinderella,
Rapunzel, The Frog Princess, The Dancing Princesses and Snow White and the Seven
Dwarves. Anthropologie will be collaborating with Long and Ryle by exhibiting the
sculptures from Sleeping Beauty in their exhibition space on the King’s Road.
Su Blackwell’s artistic transformation to the medium of sculpture happened while
studying textiles at the RCA. She continued her experimentation with paper, hanging
works in forests, burying paper in the earth, and continuing to test its enduring nature
as a medium. Su Blackwell graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2003, and
since has become internationally sought after and renowned for her delicate paper
sculpture. Blackwell creates intricate art-works from everyday objects, transforming
books into fantastical three-dimensional forms. Using a scalpel she cuts and glues the
pages of the books to create miniature dioramas, glowing with lights in wooden and
glass boxes, much like Victorian relics found in a museum of intrigue.
Blackwell finds her books – or lets them find her – by trawling through second-hand
book shops. The literary histories and stories of these books interest Blackwell, as
much as the physical presence of the book itself. The damaged frays and stains
created by time itself become a record of past events within the book-cut pages. This
makes the viewer’s relationship with the contents immediate and visceral, and in turn
tells another contemporary, visual story.
As depicted in Su Blackwell’s solo exhibition ‘Remnants’ at the Bronte Parsonage
Museum, a series of installations throughout the parsonage allowed Su Blackwell to
fully express her artistic genre. Whole rooms exploded into paper-cut life, dresses
streamed into butterflies, table-cloths dissolved into cut words and figures absailed off
chests of drawers or tumbled out of books. This created a Blackwell tour de force and
allowed the viewer to step into the nineteenth century psyche of the Brontes.
However, Blackwell’s work is not
only constricted to a static art
form, but her interest in animation
has led to impressive
collaborations on advertising
campaigns, such as those with
Volvo and British Airways.
This exhibition will encapsulate the fusion of art and literature that is so prominent in
Blackwell’s work. Created from a medium that is both fragile and transcient, these
enduring fairytales have evolved into tangible and haunting sculptures. Su
Blackwell’s heroines continue to battle with the dark ambience that springs from her
enchanted paper forests.
‘Exquisite craftsmanship combined with an underlying narrative and overlying sense
of fairytale magic makes her work stand out from the paper crowd’ Jane Audas, 2010