A deliciously visual illustrated book of works by the artist, Co-published by Concentric Editions and Sylph Editions
Slipping in and out of character is the central theme of Paper Dolls, a deliciously visual illustrated book on the cut-out collage artworks of artist Hormazd Narielwalla.
Born in India and living in London, Narielwalla has carved out his unique place on the contemporary art scene as the master puppeteer, instilling new life into paper shapes from the past through the creation of rich layers of meaning, symbolism, and sublime abstract patterns of colour and form alike. His work has recently been shown at Southbank Centre and the Royal Academy.
Paper Dolls brings together a collection of the acclaimed artist’s signature abstract collage artworks on vintage sewing patterns, alongside a set of figurative self-portraits, where Narielwalla casts himself as a mysterious geisha. Inspired by an chance encounter with an elegant lady in the streets of Soho, the artist began to wonder what it would be like to be her and through this he found himself delving into the mysteries and contradictions of identity in a multifarious world, and takes the viewer along with him as he conjures up paper dolls, hidden gardens, people, and portraits.
In her introduction to Paper Dolls, Gill Saunders, Senior Curator for Prints at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, notes that putting on new clothes can produce or release a new self and can transform the wearer’s consciousness. From Claude Cahun to Cindy Sherman, artists have played with what novelist Marina Warner has called ‘the mercurial slipperiness of identity’ by dressing up, and making up, inventing other selves to explore the world from a different perspective. Masquerade, a tradition in many cultures, is likewise an opportunity to adopt disguise as a means of disinhibition, allowing the wearer to ignore conventional norms of behaviour, to be playful or provocative. With Paper Dolls, Saunders observes, Hormazd Narielwalla draws on this rich tradition of masquerade and cross-dressing to weave a beguiling narrative in which he becomes one of the paper dolls who people his collages and prints.
A consistent thread running through his work has been the melding of different cultures – from the Mexican exotica that is fundamental to the self-fashioning of Frida Kahlo, to the mysteries of the Far East embodied in the elaborate formality and lavish decoration of the Japanese geisha. Like a character in a fairy tale, he conjures himself into a new identity by the shape- shifting transformative power of dress, picturing himself as an impassive geisha, in a sequence of costumes exquisitely crafted from cut paper fragments.
Limited Edition of 250 copies, and 4 x hors serie, worldwide made up of;
225 x Special Editions - £180.00
25 x Collectors Editions with a signed print and a bespoke box - £445.00
The book was featured in Portfolio Magazine, the 1st Class magazine for Emirates Airlines and was also the cover feature. Also, the artist was interviewed by The Pool Magazine and Design Pataki in India, and the book was also featured in Christie’s Magazine, State Magazine and It’s Nice That.