Amazing stories hidden in paper

Two paper-cutting artists with unbelievable skills – Xiaoguang Qiao from China and Karen Bit Vejle from Scandinavia – embark upon the same task: to look for dragons in their cultural heritage and make them come alive in a magnificent papercut. What happens when the Chinese and the Norse dragons meet?

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Paper Dialogues is an artistic collaboration between Xiaoguang Qiao from China and Karen Bit Vejle from Scandinavia. In this project, Qiao and Bit will each create a large-scale papercut where they interpret their own culture and history in order to present it to each other and to the audience. The continuous dialogue between the artists is an important part of the creation process and brings new elements to the artworks.

The art of papercutting, invented in China more than 1500 years ago, has a long history also in Scandinavia. For Bit it has always been a dream to come to the homeland of papercutting. For Qiao it was amazing to see the ancient Chinese art form performed with Bit’s cool elegance and Scandinavian touch.

The Chinese dragon is well known to Nordic. But do people in China know that Scandinavia has a dragon tradition too? This mythical creature, which has existed forever and tells stories for eternity, will be a main motif in both artworks.




Xiaoguang Qiao

Xiaoguang Qiao is both a scholar and an artist. For decades he has been exploring modern art based on traditional folk art. In addition to papercutting, he works with oil painting and ink art. He is a professor at the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA), where he is also director of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Research Center. Qiao is inspired by the paper-cutting techniques he has observed and collected in his fieldwork in rural China.

Bit about Qiao: We are quite different in our style; he has a very masculine expression whereas my papercuts are much more effeminate and ornamented. He has been a great inspiration to me, not least because he has taken the Chinese tradition of papercutting to a completely new place. He is truly a great artist and I respect him deeply.




Papercutting by Xiaoguang Qiao

Papercutting by Xiaoguang Qiao

Karen Bit Vejle

Karen Bit Vejle is a recognised papercut artist and an unequalled storyteller. She opened her first show in 2008, and in few years her art has spread to art museums throughout Scandinavia and in the USA. Bit works in the Scandinavian tradition of papercutting, where the world-famous fairytale writer H. C. Andersen was one of her predecessors. Like the great Danish writer, she too tells the most captivating stories in her art.

Qiao about Bit: Her devotion to papercut is a kind of inner instinct need. She has integrated all the wisdom, passion, craft, as well as understanding of life in her papercut. Her papercut language is the perfect combination of Nordic silhouette style and classical handmade decorative ornamentation techniques.




Papercutting by Karen Bit Vejle

Papercutting by Karen Bit Vejle

Paper Dialogues is a conversation beyond words. When the two artists first met they soon discovered that they could communicate across language barriers. The connection was immediate and based on artistic similarities – despite the fact that they are both deeply rooted in folk art traditions of their respective countries.

Paper Dialogues is a powerful encounter – full of contrast, understanding and innovation. Ancient motifs tell new stories. Traditional art forms find new expressions. Strangers become acquaintances, and the differences – well, perhaps we are not so different after all. We can all relate to the quiet beauty of papercuts – and the impressive roar of the dragon.


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纸的对话是一场超越语言的交谈。初次见面时,两位艺术家很快就发现他们可以跨越语言障碍进行沟通。这样直接的连接是基于艺术的相似之处 – 尽管他俩的创作都深深植根于各自国家的民间艺术传统。

纸的对话是一次强而有力的邂逅 – 充满对比、理解和创新。古老的图案诉说着新的故事。传统的艺术形式找到新的表现形式。陌生人变得熟识,而其差异 – 嗯,也许我们其实并没有那么不同。我们都可以感受到剪纸的宁静之美 – 还有龙那威风的咆哮。


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