Matthew Shlian’s Work
As a paper engineer, my work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in drawing and three dimensional forms. I use my engineering skills to create kinetic sculpture which have led to collaborations with scientists at University of Michigan. We work on the nanoscale, translating paper structures to micro folds. Our investigations extend to visualizing cellular division and solar cell development. Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; I see their inquiry as a basis for artistic inspiration. In my studio I am a collaborator, explorer and inventor. I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over. Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization; in this way I come to understanding through curiosity.