The International Paper Triennial, an exhibition competition co-founded by the Musée de Charmey and artist Viviane Fontaine in 1993, showcases the incredibly diverse landscape of contemporary paper art. Over the competition’s 30-year history, the Musée de Charmey has had the privilege of hosting and exhibiting 460 artists from 36 countries.
The Triennial is open to all artists who work with paper. In other words, artists who use paper to create works of art by transforming the material itself rather than using it solely as a support or vehicle, and for whom paper occupies a prominent place in their larger oeuvre.
Paper: a material that has existed for thousands of years and whose methods of production and composition have evolved over time and across civilisations. It is capable of assuming manifold identities; its uses are equally manifold – from art to small-scale production, right up to a mundane, everyday tool.
Paper originated in the ancient Orient and quickly spread to the West, where it replaced papyrus and parchment. It owes its status as an art form to Japan, a country that fully appreciated its unique character. Since then, countless artists have adopted this time-honoured tradition and know-how.
Paper is the main and primary resource deployed by paper artists during the creative process. The paper art movement was born out of the thriving and effervescent arts scene of the 1970s. During this period, the focus was on reclamed paper, collages and découpage.
In 1986, the International Hand Paper Makers and Paper Artists (IAMPA) was established thanks to the efforts of Fred Siegenthaler, a paper engineer and artist from Basel, Switzerland.
Since then, paper art has become a firm fixture of the contemporary artistic landscape. Japanese paper, plant paper, rag paper, recycled paper, papier mâché, recovered paper, collage, découpage… Artists make use of a growing array of techniques to ensure that paper is a subject in its own right.