The International Paper Art Triennial, a competition open exclusively to artists who use paper as an expressive medium in its own right, has been run by the Musée de Charmey since 1993. During the course of over 20 years and eight competitions, the museum has played host to 350 artists from 33 countries. The ninth edition takes place this summer 2017.

The Triennial, which was created in partnership with Viviane Fontaine, a Swiss paper artist and chair of the competition jury, is a superb showcase of the vibrant and prolific work of contemporary artists. From recycling to papermaking with plants, right up to papier mâché and papercutting, no other material rivals this medium, which is nearly as old as time itself. 

Heike Schaefer, Allemagne, 8e Triennale internationale du papier, 2014

Paper? A material made from fibres (e.g. plants, cellulose and cotton rags), which are dissolved in water and then left to dry out on a flat surface.

Paper! The best medium for writing bar none, a vehicle for the soul, a lead player in the creative act. Throughout the history of civilisation, paper has been there, documenting every step of this journey, preserving the memory of humankind. The word itself stirs the imagination, conjuring up myriad worlds: Japanese and Chinese culture, ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls, medieval manuscripts and paper mills, to name but a few. It seems to perfectly embody the very essence of the creative act, a bond in space and time, a vital component of knowledge and culture.

Paper… It has accompanied humankind in every deed and all through its development. Paper has helped to drive the advancement of those peoples who have mastered the techniques needed to produce it. No civilisation has managed to do without it; all safeguard and control its production. The special and intimate relationship between people and paper spans economics, culture, politics and religion. As the writing medium par excellence, paper facilitates the dissemination of knowledge and, as such, has become a symbol of power.

Paper. It is closely associated with creative and artistic production, serving as a material support for drawings and etchings. Yet, over time, paper has evolved to become an expressive medium in its own right, whether in the fine arts or applied arts, being used to create objects as diverse as furniture, games, prayer aids and decorative pieces.

Paper art. Any material can be used in the artistic process. Impermanence becomes the quality that is prized above all others; aesthetic criteria are no longer an absolute. Amidst this profusion of material, paper has successfully fashioned a place for itself in contemporary art, first through collages and recycling/upcycling, then through the rediscovery of an ancient tradition. It no longer plays an exclusively supporting role in the creative process; it now takes centre stage as an expressive medium in its own right. This change in status has led to the emergence of a dynamic artistic movement that deploys a wealth of techniques, is unburdened by a unity of style, and actively embraces cultural differences. 

Sandrine Beaudun, France, premier prix de la 8e Triennale internationale du papier, 2014

Musée de Charmey - Les Charrières 1 - 1637 Charmey (Switzerland)
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