Su Blackwell graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2003. She makes intricate art-works
from every-day objects, transforming clothes and books into fantastical three-dimensional forms.
Using a scalpel she cuts and glues the pages of books to create miniature dioramas glowing with
lights in wood and glass boxes, like Victorian relics found in a museum of intrigue.
She finds her books – or rather lets them find her – by trawling through second-hand book shops.
She always reads the book first and this in turn inspires the work. Some that come into the artist’s
possession sit on her shelf for months and months. The books themselves, their histories and
stories, also interest her. They hold in their pages a record of their past events, as physical objects;their damage, such as frays and stains, makes our relationship with the contents immediate and visceral, and in turn tells another story.
The Secret Garden
book-cut sculpture in a box
h 33 x w 24 x d 25 cm
This exhibition, Su Blackwell’s first at Long & Ryle, will explore a new theme – movement –
using tiny motors that are jerky and unpredictable. A number of her compositions will have an
urgency about them, the cut-out characters from the book’s illustrations will seem pre-occupied, orperhaps be escaping from something, and the landscapes will speak of a bleak mystery, an arising in the air. They will be placed in an uncertain and possibly dangerous reality outside of the
context of the text, amid a stark forest of cut-out trees. There will be a slight feeling of sadness
alongside the enchantment.
While you were Sleeping
Some of the subjects of new pieces are: Babes in Woodland, Silvershod, fairy tales by Hans
Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm, and some lesser-known tales. Alice will make an
appearance, in Wonderland, and the relationship between Titania and Bottom will be explored in a work inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In the five years since leaving the Royal College of Art, Su Blackwell’s intricate and magical
paper cut-outs have become internationally well-known (although uncredited), through advertising
campaigns for Beringer Wines and Land-Rover, the Harvey Nichols Christmas window display
(2007), and a Vanity Fair jewellery feature. Her pieces have been heralded widely, and the artist
has been spotlighted in Vogue, The Telegraph Magazine and The Financial Times.