ISSUE 56  |  In the Library

Garden Stories, Told in Paper

January 25, 2013 8:00 PM

BY Justine Hand

Taking in the body of Cecilia Levy's work, here's what I see. It's autumn. Under a silver sky the withered leaves of a garden past its prime congregate in a corner as if try to gain their freedom over an old stone wall. Unseen, a gnome sneaks in and settles himself by a lichen-covered slab. As he sips his sassafras tea, the wind whips up the wizened stems. Liberated at last, their stories are conveyed along with the breeze.

For her storied paper sculptures, Swedish artist Cecilia Levy uses old books from the beginning of the last century. These, she notes, "carry their own history, not only in the words, but also in the stains and dog ears." Taking her cue from the pages, their creamy whiteness or brittled browns, she lets the materials guide her. Ripping, shredding, and cutting, she destroys in order to conjure a new form.

The results are a new kind of ephemera. Delicate, organic forms, the words they wear are a mark of their former selves, reminding that all is transient, but never completely gone. As Levy puts it: "The story continues, but in a different form."

Hailing from Stockholm, Cecilia Levy earned a master's of fine arts degree in graphic design at the School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, and studied bookbinding at Leksands Folkhögskola.

Above: A detail of Levy's "Daily Thistles" made from old paper and glue.

Above: This gossamer tea cup is part of a series called "Expecting."

Above: Reminiscent of a pine cone, "Mermaid" is one of Levy's many bowls.

Above: These large and small "Daily Thistles" were a public commission for the Gottsunda Library in Uppsala. To purchase Cecilia's work, contact the artist.

Above: Works like this tea cup can be seen in exhibits in and around Sweden.

Cecilia's next show is at the Flow Gallery in Notting Hill, UK, from Feb. 13 to May 17.