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Wanted: Posters Whose Paper Sprouts Into 3-D Crystals

Matt Shlian’s sculptural posters create three-dimensional geometric mountainscapes out of folded paper.

Put away your paper airplanes, kids: A new edition of five posters from Ann Arbor-based paper artist Matt Shlian adds a new angle to the argument for the physicality of printed matter.

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Viewed from one vantage, straight on, the posters produce a peculiar optical effect that looks like the triangles are drawn in with pencil on the page, creating the dips and shadows with shading alone. But viewed from the side, the design reveals that the individual pieces are in fact cut out, hand-folded, assembled, and glued on the paper according to a pencil-drawn pattern on the page, which provides a lightly marked blueprint for a pattern that boutique label Ghostly International, which is collaborating with Shlian on these limited-edition prints, describes as “at once unfinished and complete.”

Using the three-dimensional qualities of folded paper, Shlian began with a 12-sided form that extrudes across the 8.5-by-11-sized pages in five editions. Taken together, the pieces build on each other, like a paper mountain range of various-sized and -shaped triangles expanding across the page. And although he has also trained as an engineer, Shlian says that there isn’t a formula or algorithm behind the shapes, but rather his own intuition. He writes: “I do not know how the pattern will develop as I progress, but I do know how it began and I use the course I have charted to determine its destination.”

The five prints are available in editions of 10 each, ranging from $125 to $225. Order them here. See our previous coverage of Shlian here.)

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