Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Honor of Tax Day - Shredded Paper Sculptures by Nava Lubelski

1997 Tax File
Did you send in your taxes yet? Do you instead wish you could rip them to shreds and throw a party with the resulting confetti? Sounds like a good time actually. But if you're Nava Lubelski, you take your taxes, shred them and then turn them into beautiful works of art. Nava took her tax files from 1997, 1998 and 1999 (which she legally doesn't need to retain anymore because we're past 10 years), shredded them, rolled them up, and glued them together to create these intricate and organic patterns. She's also taken old love letters and her rejection letters and created similar works. Seems incredibly cathartic and healing. Pain turned into Art.

 1997 Tax File, detail
Nava's works explore "the contradictions between the impulse to destroy and the compulsion to mend". Her shredded paper sculptures could be described as cellular or molecular, and it actually is meant to remind you of a cross section of a tree and the rings of wood, which seems fitting because paper comes from trees. And each slice of paper is it's own historical record, a period of time in a person's life, measured in receipts.

1998 Tax File

Her work also explores how we, as people, sometimes have difficulties parting with things that don't really hold any significant value. Tax returns are a perfect example. Legally, we're only required to hold on to them for 10 years, yet many people still keep them. Why? Because they feel like they should, "just in case".

 1998 Tax File, detail

In her own words: "Historical information is revealed in the colors of deposit slips, pay stubs, receipts and tax forms. The cellular coils spiral outward, mimicking biological growth, as they are glued together into flat rounds, which suggest lichen, doilies or disease. The re-use of paper, as well as the attempted "repair" of the long-lost original tree, is an examination of feelings of despair about waste and unsustainability, while simultaneously responding to the shadow impulse to hoard and keep what is no longer needed."


Crush, detail

Nava has also created paper sculptures from old love letters as well as rejection letters, which I find incredibly poetic. So many powerful emotions are trapped on those pages, whether good (hopefully in the case of the love letters) and harsh, painful feelings from the rejection letters. Those letters too are difficult to let go, even though they only offer meaning to one person. At least when they are transformed into art, more people can appreciate them.

 Rejection Letters

 Rejection Letters, detail

[Nava Lubelski]
{All Things Paper via Dude Craft}