Experience / Exhibitions / Papier — Bea Szenfeld and Stina Wirsén

Papier — Bea Szenfeld and Stina Wirsén

In a juncture between art and fashion, two renowned Swedish artists meet in a mutual affection for the handmade and paper.

The exhibition Papier, now open at American Swedish Institute, unites Bea Szenfeld’s spectacular sculptural paper-fashions with Stina Wirsén’s evocative illustrations. Papier features a dozen of Bea’s wearable pieces, while Stina’s expressive drawings and illustrations set the scene.

Bea Szenfeld, born 1972, is known for her experimentation with unconventional material and fabric. Using scissors, tape, staples, needle and thread, she creates pieces that are both bold and delicate. Bea continuously pushes the convention of both paper and fashion.

Stina Wirsén, born 1968, is one of Sweden’s best-known illustrators. Her work is vast and varied – from high fashion to children’s books. Her drawing style is elegant yet expressive, effortless and spontaneous, and unmistakable. It is easy to become lost in the picture world of Stina Wirsén.

The U.S. debut and tour is organized in collaboration with the House of Sweden, Embassy of Sweden in Washington D.C. Papier originally exhibited in Sweden at Lidköping Art Hall, as curated by Amanda Österberg.

Artist Bios

Bea Szenfeld was born in 1927 Poland, and lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Using paper, scissors, tape, and thread, Szenfeld creates pieces that are both bold and delicate. Her paper couture has been worn by such superstars as Lady Gaga and Björk, and can be found in art galleries and fashion magazines as well as on Nobel Prize guests, artists, and politicians. The craftsmanship, together with her daring design language, creates works that point backwards and forwards in time.

“There’s something about paper that I just love. It is unpretentious and folksy. We go great together.” – Bea Szenfeld

Stina Wirsén was born in 1968 in Sweden and lives and works in Stockholm. She is one of Sweden’s best-known illustrators. Wirsén’s work spans fields including fashion commercial advertising, illustrations for the daily press, magazines, and public art. She is acclaimed for writing interational children’s books which have also een turned into movies and videos. Wirsén  was the in-house illustrator for the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter from 1990-2010. She is also a playwright an a set/costume designer for the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. In addition, she has been granted awards including Expressen’s Heffaklump Award or children’s literature, the Elsa Beskow Plaque, Nordiska Tecknare’s Award and Svenska Tecknare’s Kolla! Award.

“No doubt my two decades as an illustrator for Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest morning paper, has shaped me.” – Stina Wirsén

“Papier” exhibit, ASI,

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Papier - Mansion Gallery, 2021
Papier - installed at ASI, Krn, 2021
Papier at ASI - Osher Gallery

Exhibition Supporters

Major support provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Karin Larson, and ASI’s members and donors. The exhibition’s media partner is the Star Tribune.

The Midwest debut of Papier at ASI has been made possible in collaboration with the House of Sweden, Embassy of Sweden in Washington D.C. Papier originally was exhibited at Linköpinn ArtHall in Sweden.

Minnesota artist activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota.

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