Qompendium is an evolving and ever-changing platform for philosophy, art, culture and science, represented by a series of print publications: magazines, books and monographs. Furthermore, it is enriched by a gallery concept, a work shop and a fast-moving online portal.
“Modern Art Cutting” is Victorinox’s take on the ancient art of Kirigami, an offshoot of origami that involves cutting paper into intricate patterns. In collaboration with London-based papercutting artist Rob Ryan, the Victorinox Tomo was put to the test in creating a specially commissioned artwork using the classic blade. In true Victorinox spirit, Ryan created an elaborate family tree paper cut drawing, embodying the idea that from generation to generation knives are passed down to offspring as enduring legacies.
If you’d like to put your creative skills to work, there are currently three designs downloadable as stencils.
Following the invention of paper in China in 200 AD, the fourth and fifth centuries saw the first flourishes of papercutting when the Chinese began to cut paper embroidery patterns for textiles and ceramics. By the seventh century, the discipline had spread to Japan and was known as Mon-kiri or the art of papercutting. Samurai warriors – proud members of the warrior clan – were known to embellish their armour with many different motifs. It wasn’t until the 17th century that papercutting filtered into Europe particularly in Switzerland and Germany. Here it was called Scherenschnitte and was usually cut from black or white paper and used for home decoration especially during holidays. They were perfect for creating silhouettes, or inexpensive paper profiles, as stand-ins to portrait paintings that were very expensive at the time. They were also used on legal documents for decorative purposes to ensure that information could not be replicated or falsified as each scrivener’s cutting style was very distinct; at times when no fraktur artist was available, paper cuts could be used on important documents as birth or marriage certificates. Possibly the most intriguing of all were the paper cuts from the Victorian era used on valentines and Liebesbriefe (love letters) from enamoured suitors.
When machine-cut and stamped paper (particularly with the advent of the letter press) became widespread, papercutting slowly phased out as did silhouette portraits with the invention of the camera.