Heidi Trautmann

789 - Paper the carrier of culture My thoughts based on my recent talks with the paper artist Ismet

By Heidi Trautmann


A catalogue ‘Paper Global 3’ published for the recently opened 3rd Paper Trienal in the Bavarian historical town of Deggendorf - I reported  on it twice – a catalogue my friend Ismet Tatar brought back to Cyprus for me, with her own work pictured in it – made me think as I leafed through it.  I need to share my reflections and my deep concern about so many things that are connected to ....PAPER....to books, literature, culture, history and historical proof, education and the arts.

Helene Tschacher, the former president of IAPMA (International Association of Paper Making Artists) whom I have met at the 25th anniversary of the association here in Nicosia at Near East University, has written an introduction to the catalogue here mentioned which meets my ideas.... Is paper today nothing more than a raw material, mere waste, an artistic medium? Is paper entirely losing its meaning as a conveyor of information? Will the smell of a book hot off the press, the sound, the surface texture of paper, the act of leafing through pages soon be things of the past? The printed newspaper already outdated when it comes out and nothing but waste paper the next day has outlived its usefulness because more up-to minute information is available online much faster. And as for books – on an eReader we can store more books than we will ever be able to read. But what happens later when harddisks can no longer be accessed, when DVDs and CDs can no longer be read, when a virus paralyses our internet connection? Printed paper needs only the reader, no electricity ....and so on.... The whole scenario reminds me of the film Fahrenheit 451 on the basis of a book by Ray Bradbury published in 1953 which I saw 30 years ago – at least – but the message of which has never left me. The story of a society where books are outlawed and burnt. Here is the link to a trailer I found on internet, a film with my favourite actor Oscar Werner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9n98SXNGl8

Do not misunderstand me, I recognize the immeasurable depth of electronic knowledge and I am grateful to use it for the research I have to do for my articles but it cannot replace the originals on paper and with it the proof of our historical background.


However, I don’t want to talk any further about this fear of mine which I think many of my generation share,  but concentrate on the art works. The wide range of application and transformation one can do with paper, it is by the way a very old art form in Japan, but has soon found fascinated fans in the Western world as well. Paper folded, cut – silhoette cutting – sculpted, perforated, punched, embossed; paper hand made from waste, rags, plants and seeds, and used as basic material for further art work, painted and written on it, given new forms; waste paper that block our letter boxes, used to build something new¸ tea bags used to tell a new story. I could go on endlessly. If you want to learn more about paper then go to IAPMA website, the association that was founded in Germany in 1986 and has hundreds of members from nearly 40 countries.

Ismet Tatar, paper artist in North Cyprus, went to Deggendorf for the opening and she was amazed at the diversity of art displayed, and also the hightened interest by the public, for whom the festival organisers have organised a paper festival where artists had volunteered to show their art and invite all age groups to try their hand in paper art.

I have copied some samples of paper art from the catalogue for you, however, if you are interested just enter paper art and hundreds of images will pop up for you.

In North Cyprus we have a handful of paper artists to name but who work entirely with hand made paper, Inci Kansu, Ismet Tatar, Emel Samioğlu and Simge Uygur but some others are following because the fascination of hand made paper is taking a hold in artistic minds. This group of artists have planned to found their own paper art association in North Cyprus having in mind some projects to strengthen the importance of paper art and in the end of paper in general and all that is connected to it.

Yes, Paper, the carrier of culture, and looking around in my studio, I am surrounded by paper, on my desk, on my shelves and on the walls, my identity is on paper....

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