Alexis Merat

I am a paperfolder. The main matter I am working with is paper and my actions are folding, crumpling or wrinkling.

Folds come from an envelope being constrained. It is earth’s crust bending to create mountains, eye’s contour when squinting, apple’s skin when ageing, car body when crashing, a loose dress falling on the legs… It is a movement, an expression of life, memorized inside the matter, a very straightforward way of mastering a whole universe of shapes and their inner structure. Each gesture structures the matter, is kept in each fold, until a desired form emerges.

I am interested in both the process and the result, fascinated by the complexity resulting from such a simple action as compressing a piece of paper in hands, or making only seven straight folds in a rectangle and having an efficient plane. I am using many techniques as traditional Japanese folding ones, complex modern sequences and a unique crumpling process.

Paper is a privileged matter to keep humans actions of folding, due to its equilibrium between strength and fragility, transparency and opacity, elasticity and plasticity, the ability to absorb water and dry while keeping the shape… It is also a great support for mixing arts and crafts, allowing many other actions, as drawing, printing, cutting, gluing, burning and allowing collaboration with other artists.

I would define me as both artist and scientist, this practices being often combined and nourishing a global reflection, following the example of artists from Renaissance.

I made exhibitions from my paperfolding works for ten years, in France and abroad, making unique pieces or complete installations. All sizes of paper are used, up to a hundred square meters. In my recent works, I include mostly thin white papers, for their lightness, fragility and cleanliness. I tend to produce peaceful and poetic atmospheres, frequently inspired by nature, in between figurative and abstract shapes. Transparency, opacity and brightness of paper are my most recent interests and I would reconsider my work as shaping light through paper.

I am also studying the mechanical and mathematical properties of folded forms. It is directly implemented in my art work and allows me to expand my means of expression. More generally, as a powerful tool for shaping things, fold can have a lot of technological applications, which I am currently studying.

Fold is a great subject of study and a great tool for shaping subtle, light playing even useful structures. It is a great playground for creation. I am genuinely happy to be able to practice it every day and sharing it through artwork or workshops.

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