Paper Queen

Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave creates gowns she sees in museum paintings with paper.  The choice of material is peculiar in nature but the result is amazing. The inspiration for her work derives from early European paintings or iconic costumes found in museum collections.  According to Carolyne Zinko of The San Francisco Chronicle: “In a method that curators and gallery owners say is unique to her, De Borchgrave meticulously hand-paints rag paper in intricately detailed patterns and muted hues that mimic the faded colors of old paintings. The ‘fabric’ is sculpted and assembled into clothing by a team working with de Borchgrave, each piece taking more than a month to create.”

Isabelle starts with a blank piece of paper that she manipulates by painting, crumbling, and moistening the surface.  She likes to recreate the feeling of fabrics from artworks that span over a 300 year period.  For example, she transforms paper to have the look and feel of leather, taffeta, lace, and velvet.

The folding and use of paper mimics gestural brushstrokes.  Isabelle de Borchgrave’s interpretation of gowns from master paintings become three dimensional and alive.  As a result, the viewer is invited to imagine how the painting’s characters felt wearing such elaborate clothing.

Currently Isabelle de Borchgrave is showing at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco till June 5th, 2011.

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