Berlin-based artist Bartek Elsner works with paper and cardboard to produce impeccable replicas of objects ranging from a simple boxed video cassette to a multi-textured chainsaw. While the medium in this series titled The Paper Stuff is reminiscent of Chris Gilmour’s cardboard sculptures, the similarities really end there. As precisely sculpted as many of his works are, enveloping the audience in its realism, there’s a playfulness about Elsner’s work. When you look closely upon the objects, the symbols, buttons, and typography generally have a cartoon-like aesthetic.
Rather than focusing on intricate realism, these pieces offer figurative reproductions with an animated liveliness. In his piece titled The Branch, where a polygonal raven sits atop a geometric tree branch, the artist keeps everything very angular instead of smoothing out every point and line. There’s also a sense of humor attached to Elsner’s work that is presented both indoors and outdoors. Instead of the traditional axe encased in an emergency box, Elsner has heavy duty weaponry available in the convenience of one’s home. The works even adorn urban landscapes, offering a cardboard fireplace for warmth outdoors. I would be so delighted if I ever ran into these sculptures in a public space.