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Caterina Crepax: The Mystery World Of Paper Art

MILAN, ITALY - Paper has the ability to make dreams come true! In the multi-faceted world of the Italian-born architect and interior designer Caterina Crepax, even waste paper can do wonders. A daughter of the famous Guido Crepax, the comic  artist who invented the mythical Italian graphic character Valentina, Caterina has been exposed to the secrets and harmony of drawing art since early age.

Now the grown-up artist has established her own art universe in which paper reigns and transforms into various shapes and styles. Delicate souvenirs, unique extravagant jewels, avant-garde pleated outfits, tapestries, paintings, accessories and gift ideas - Caterina is able to design it all from paper.

Typically the Milan-based designer utilizes handmade oriental paper, such as rice paper, to give life to her ideas. Often, the talented artist uses office printouts, store receipts, envelopes and sweets trays, and transforms them into three-dimensional, ephemeral art pieces (as seen in Photo 1). Once in the realm of Caterina’s exquisite paper art, you will find yourself surrounded by elegance, aesthetics and sophisticated art concepts.

Crepax also takes advantage of the subtle effect of the play between transparence and light to create spectacular outfits glowing from inside (as seen in Photo 2). The key to the unique style of her art objects is their characteristic color – white. Caterina uses all nuances of white – pure, cream, ivory and ecru in order to wrap her ideas in transparent mystery.

At first sight, one can hardly recognize the simplicity of the material used to create Caterina’s fascinating art pieces. Once you take a further look at it, you will realize that they represent a rare form of contemporary art. Crepax has demonstrated that paper, with its potential for artistic manipulation and extreme fragility, can be a great source of creative ideas. She pleats it, folds it, crumples it, curls it, and it is truly obedient in her hands.  She is an artist who finds inspiration in the dynamics and variety of the surrounding world, and especially nature, but she does not seek stimulation from fashion itself. With her natural ability to experiment and fantasize, Caterina sails away from old-school traditions and presents art that can be compelling, charming, delicate, aggressive or rebellious.

Her successes start in 1995, when her paper dresses-sculptures (as seen in Photo 3) are used as decorations for cupboards presented by Molteni & C., an Italian furniture design company, at the Milan Furniture Fair. Since then, she has become an internationally recognized artist, with an increasing popularity in her native Italy and the rest of Europe. Crepax has produced art for the wedding gown designer Mauro Adami and (as seen in Photo 4) has developed projects for the Fedrigoni Paper company. A couple of years ago, she was invited to take part in the Brazil Fashion Week of the Biennale in San Paolo, where she had to produce twenty paper dresses on the basis of real fashion designs (as seen in Photo 5), created by distinguished local fashion gurus.  She has also presented her work in art exhibits, shops, galleries and showcases.

‘A creator of paper dreams’, as people often call her, an interior designer, an artist, an architect, an inspirer, and a source of creative energy -  Caterina Crepax breaks the limits of the  traditional and roams boldly in the realm of the unknown.

Photos courtesy of Petia Dimitrova