Trying out different folding techniques is not a standard within the curriculum of art history at the University of Stuttgart. However, participating in the processes of ideation and creation offered a group of Bachelor students  a change in perspective on Anna Kubelík’s large-scale installations. In the framework of an introduction to sculpture and plastic arts held by Dr. Marthe Kretzschmar they visited Anna in her studio at Solitude.
»When we started to work with origami, we immediately began to understand how Anna develops concrete projects from this point,« one student remarks. As Anna Kubelík doesn’t want her work to be in need of explications, it seemed very fruitful to involve the students in her experiments with materiality and form. In doing so, they had a whole new experience helping them to approach different artworks. Another participant adds, »While talking, the hands-on practice was really exciting. Through this we could understand the way of thinking which is triggered by the origami. Also to get an idea of how she develops something new from it was very interesting.«
»A mockup is also a way of communicating. If I want to realize one of my ideas, one of the most pressing questions comes with building it: Which medium is adequate for my idea?« (Anna Kubelík)
Anna Kubelík: »My approach for the workshop was to give an insight of how I think as an artist/architect to students of art history, who normally only get an impression of a completed piece of art. I focused on origami to show them that very simple techniques can lead to complex, large-scale ideas. While folding paper, the students could imagine how the use of certain materials or colours could change the whole impression. Above all, a shift in scale can make a decisive intervention in the final outcome. I guess it was important for them to learn that it is not always the big concept that I already have in mind when starting my experiments, but rather some easy folding techniques that can fascinate me and trigger my ideas. My practice is to play through different possibilities by changing scale and media in order to come as close as possible to the context needed. To give an example: When I suddenly see how a certain movement is possible with the convolutions of an origami pattern, I start imagining how this could transform into a totally different scale. The result was a large undulating ceiling for a classical concert. The ceiling installation was tailored to the music, the composers, the musicians, and the experience for the audience.«
Marthe Kretzschmar (Department of Art History, University of Stuttgart): »To rethink the objects and installations you create in terms of sculpture is not too easy, I have to admit. Your work I know so far is very poetic. Maybe that’s also the reason why it is so accessible. You simply get caught by it, and another level of the object develops by itself. I’m not longing for an additional explanation any more or for understanding more afterwards. Still, for me it is especially fascinating that you don’t begin with thinking about this effect but that rather the shape or the decision for a certain material seems crucial to you. If I think about sculpture in a traditional way, it is the shaping of a material. It has to appear three-dimensionally. From this stance I can access your work even if it doesn’t relate at all to the classical way of, let’s say, shaping marble. But it is the function that you are interested in, and all these analogies to musical instruments, science, or measurements which are all involved in the process of shaping material. And in the end, sculptures evolve from all this. The question on the role of mockups in this chain supplements all these influences: The mockup as a way of allowing experiments in shape, coming from a one-dimensional sheet of paper, or also a mockup as an experiment with different materials.«
AK: »A mockup is also a way of communicating. If I want to realize one of my ideas, one of the most pressing questions comes with building it: Which medium is adequate for my idea? I’m always very suspicious of objects that need a lot of explanations. I think, then you probably used the wrong medium. Don’t get me wrong: The point is not that the human who sees the object knows my whole story, all of my considerations and all the processes involved. But it has to have a certain effect on them.«
»Movigami« involves the effect of the movable folding the students discovered during the half-day workshop at Akademie Schloss Solitude. The large-scale installation served as a ceiling for a concert in Berlin in 2009.
- All origami foldings are made by the students participating in the workshop. Unless otherwise indicated, the quotes are by them.