Meticulous Folds Form Maze-Like Hallways and Ornate Spaces in Simon Schubert’s Paper Reliefs


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“Untitled (Grand Stairway)” (2013), folded paper, 70 x 50 centimeters. All images © Simon Schubert, shared with permission

In Simon Schubert’s intricate folded compositions, bars of sunlight dash across door frames, ornate cornicing, and parquet floors in a complex interplay of geometric forms. Relying exclusively on the way light rakes across the surface of paper, the Cologne-based artist meticulously folds single sheets to precisely render the angles and perspectives of architectural interiors.

The artist begins each piece with a sketch, often focusing on mirrored or symmetrical scenes in historic buildings and emphasizing the continuity of long hallways, connecting doors, and reflections. Although Schubert currently centers on the built environment, his first foray into folding the material was an experiment in making a portrait of the Irish novelist Samuel Beckett while the artist was assisting with research into the author’s text and video works at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Beckett’s wrinkles were interpreted into creases in the paper, and the artist was fascinated by the idea of drawing without using any traditional materials beyond the paper itself. “The idea was to bring the drawing to a point to where it was almost no longer a drawing,” Schubert says.

Part of a broader artistic practice that explores themes of place, experience, architecture, and imagination, Schubert’s folded paper works translate three-dimensional surroundings into monochromatic reliefs. Subtlety is essential, and there are some surprises lurking, like the ghostly form of a figure who walks up the stairs or an enigmatic shadow that plays against a wall.

Schubert’s work will be part of an exhibition with Foley Gallery in New York later this year, and you can find more of his work on his website and Instagram.

 

“Untitled (Perspective)” (2021), folded paper, 100 x 70 centimeters

“Untitled (Grand Hall)” (2013), folded paper, 70 x 100 centimeters

“Untitled (Intricated Light)” (2022), folded paper, 50 x 35 centimeters

“Untitled (Intricated 23)” (2018), folded paper, 100 x 70 centimeters

“Untitled (Light in Corridor)” (2020), folded paper, 70 x 50 centimeters

“Untitled (Salon Hanging)” (2010), folded paper, 150 x 150 centimeters

“Untitled (Two Perspectives)” (2022), folded paper, 70 x 50 centimeters

“Untitled (Shadow in Room)” (2021), folded paper, 70 x 50 centimeters

“Untitled (Shadow on Stairs)” (2021), folded paper, 70 x 50 centimeters

“Untitled (Licht in Spiegel und Räumen)” (2023), folded paper, 100 x 70 centimeters

“Portrait of Samuel Beckett,” folded paper, 100 x 70 centimeters

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