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paper cuts/

The nature of a paper cut is unexpected, shocking. It’s an intervention. It interrupts us in what we are doing. How did that happen? we are wondering inevitably. We look for the source and take care of the wound, that hurts more than we would expect from paper, a profane material we use on a daily basis. Inevitably.


Paper, in its origin, is a natural material. It is not made to cut. The sharp edges it develops by being sliced. Only cut paper cuts. When it’s not in its complete state, paper becomes a blade. In order to make it fit into our purposes, we unintentionally sharpen it. Still, we don’t see paper as something dangerous. Therefore a cut feels like a betrayal, from a material we see as somewhat tender and innocent.


The experience of a paper cut reminds me of our human interaction. Don’t we - unintentionally - ‘cut’ each other as well? Aren’t we all - from our perception - innocent in our intentions? And we all get cut ..


Inspired by this thought, I followed this path within myself and found paper cuts of the past. These tiny slashes, unseen, once they’re healed. But I still recall the shock and pain vividly. 


How did it happen? With my artwork, I looked at it, re-experienced it, observed it, and listened to it. I wrote it down. The ink, bleeding through my pen, was cleansing. This process was and is well-doing for me. Healing? Yes, too, in some way. But the traces remain. And once I dedicate attention to them, they are being honored and integrated. 


Meet me from September 8th-28th at my spot at Atelier Mitte. With my artwork and space for interaction, I’m there to accompany you along the way to revisit paper cuts on our inner map. I invite you to meet this place within yourself, too. A place, where a paper cut happened to you. You pick which one. Let’s give it some attention. And finding ourselves not alone - rather than united in this experience, as human beings.

Let me walk you a bit through this project  . .



The process

"dragon blood" is the name of this ink. Years ago, I was searching for a color like this, not knowing why. It's funny, how a creative processes often begin a long time before they become visible. 


Mapping Fingers

>Self Topography on Paper< is the title under which we came together as a collective of 8 artists. When I observed paper cuts, I took fingerprints - and was surprised to find the character of a topographic map in it.



Bleeding through my pen

I had created a document to collect my research, think through writing - and do a continuing list of paper cuts in my life. Still .. when I wrote it down with my pen, it became alive! I bled through the feather ..


The layers

Flabbergasted I was left, when I put the two layers on top of each other - they were a perfect fit! Everyone with whom I talked about this thought I did that on purpose. No. It was the fluid nature of an organic creative process. 



The cutting

Only cut paper cuts - the moment I sliced the paper, I knew I needed to add the plural s to my original title to paper cutS. 

Paper CUT/

the Video

in collaboration with :: Milad Olad


paper cut/

the text






of ideas

yet unseen.

parents tell us

to be careful 

with knives and scissors

but no one

warns us

to be aware of

the blade of paper.







print paper -

friendly tools

for our purpose

and not made

to cause us harm.

when it happens

it’s a shock.

feeling deeper 

than a super


cut of paper.

I learned

that paper has tiny saw teeth.

and I thought

that only cut paper


so paper gets sharp

by being sliced.

its scar is teeth

that can bite back.

I talked about it 

with a friend.

they did not


why I marvel

over paper.

I felt alone

and turned towards myself.

no paper cuts

when I don’t deal

with paper


I take my pen

and talk with my diary


paper is patient

Cicero said.

no complaints

no misunderstandings.

I turn a page 



it bit me back.

I didn’t cut you tho.


Who knows

who did.

/Mel Hack

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