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Ballerinas Take a Bow in Delicate and Powerful Paper Costumes

"Haute papier" gets photographed on ballet performers, a collaboration between artist Bea Szenfeld and the Royal Swedish Opera.

by Diana Shi
26 June 2016, 11:50am

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera Clyde Archer footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

A series of faces earnestly peer out from canopies of white and off-white paper, while ballerinas with impeccable extension show off Elizabethan collars and dazzling headpieces made of string, paper, and tape. Created and executed with the Royal Swedish Opera, this summer-long exhibit takes place at the Stockholm Museum of Movement and presents imaginative paper-constructed elements as part of “haute papier” costume installations and two-dimensional photos. Created by Bea Szenfeld, the series, Everything You Can Imagine is Real, features a collaboration between the Swedish artist, Stockholm Graphics, and photographers Karolina Henke, Carl Thorborg, and Stina Wirsén, and captures both the simplistic beauty of papercraft and the strong, graceful movements of ballet dancers. 

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera Clyde Archer in Guldfoajén footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera's Anna Danielsson footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera Clean Narumi footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

Outside of the exhibit, Szenfeld is known as an established costume designer, often collaborating with celebrities with memorable personas, such as Björk and Lady Gaga. Inside Everything you Can Imagine Is Real the viewer perceives a series of warm-bodied yet marionette-like figurines. A mime or jester quality to the models draws positive attention to the Szenfeld’s stark-white, multi-tiered paper creations.

"I love the combination of Dansmuseet [the Stockholm Museum of Movement], my paper costumes and The Royal Swedish Opera," Szenfeld says in an official museum release. "It is both unlikely and obvious at the same time. Paper costumes and dance, let’s do it! Through the scissors and the body everything is connected, the tough but wonderful craft."

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera Mikael Magnell footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL, Opera Gina Tse-footed by Karolina Henke, © Museum of Movement of Stockholm

Everything You Can Imagine is Real is on display through August 12, 2016 at the Museum of Movement in Stockholm. Click here to learn more, and see more of Bea Szenfeld's work on her official website, here.

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