Unfolding by Matthew Shlian documents a decade of unexpected creativity

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Unfolding by Matthew Shlian documents a decade of unexpected creativity
A complete retrospective of the paper engineer and artist Matthew Shlian, documenting a decade of unrivalled and unexpected creativity.



LONDON.- Matthew Shlian has always recognized paper’s significance as a medium and message, as a material for experimentation and understanding. In his hands, engineering, science and geometry take physical form in paper. Folded, tessellated, compressed, extrapolated – two-dimensional paper becomes three dimensional sculpture in beautiful and unexpected ways.

Unfolding is the first monograph of Shlian’s genius, compiling his most important work over the past decade. A journey into the new possibilities of folding technology, the intricate complexities of Islamic patterns, and the sheer potential offered by a sheet of white paper, Unfolding is celebration of a humble material, on the edge of its existence, elevated to timeless form and possibility.

In keeping with the geometric underpinning of Shlian’s work, the dimensions of the book are ‘16 cubed’: 16cm by 16cm by 16 signatures of 16 pages. Printed in full colour on two paper stocks, the book features an interview between Stuart Kestenbaum and the artist, and essays by Islamic design scholar Eric Broug and acclaimed writer Laurence Weschler. Of Shlian’s work, Weschler has said that ‘it’s not so much the folds he adds to paper, it’s the folds he adds to your brain.’

At the heart of Unfolding is a complete overview of Shlian’s stunning and original oeuvre over the past ten years, including small- and large-scale works, collaborations with scientific researchers and scientists, three-dimension reliefs and sculpture – all in paper.

Matthew Shlian is an artist, paper engineer and founder of the Initiative Artist Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His work extends from drawings to large-scale installations to collaborations with leading researchers and scientists. His work for the National Science Foundation explores paper-folding structures on the macro level translated to the nano-scale. His client list includes Apple, P&G, Facebook, Levi’s, Sesame Street and the Queen of Jordan.










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