Feel the surface of raw cardboard between your fingers or hold a sheet of unprocessed white paper up to the light and see its grain and fibres. You are looking at the beauty and simplicity of these materials. Basic, pure and understated, and at the same time materials that have inspired visual artists and designers for decades. In the hands of the artist paper and cardboard take on new shapes and forms that tell stories; stories that move, amaze and surprise us through the monumental and imposing nature of the artwork or because of the tactile and detailed quality of the work. CODA Museum Apeldoorn brings together the works of 22 artists from the Netherlands and abroad in the eleventh edition of CODA Paper Art, which takes place from 11 June to 12 November 2023.

Think paper and cardboard, and you probably think of a sheet emerging from a printer, a crumpled shopping list at the bottom of your bag, a child’s drawing, a letter, a moving box, or the packaging your parcels arrive in. CODA Paper Art 2023 includes a huge diversity of work showing how these materials inspire contemporary artists; from collages, designer objects and fashion to performances, kinetic art, sculptures and video. One striking feature of this edition is that many artists show a preference for neutrally coloured paper and cardboard.

A number of the artists created new work for CODA Paper Art 2023. Maartje Korstanje (b.  Netherlands, 1982) was commissioned by CODA to make a large new work examining the relationship between man and nature. Stefan Venbroek (b. Netherlands, 1980) has used paper, cardboard, paint, coloured ink and animation techniques to create a remarkable and hypnotic world.

CODA Paper Art 2023 also shows that traditional papercraft is not just about cutting and folding: its visual impact may also be the result of scientific research, and of the development and use of new, innovative techniques and processes. The artist and biologist Ana Oosting (b. Netherlands, 1985) shows the wonderful complexity of a simple fold with a work entitled Changing the Gaussian curvature. We also see a more mathematical approach to paper in the work of team Angela Fung (b. Mozambique, 1970) and Ashley Bedford (b. UK, 1964), who are fascinated by the possibility of transforming a two-dimensional object into a three-dimensional one with a few simple cuts, twists, and folds. Fung + Bedford have created an ambitious installation for Paper Art, matched to the tall, light-filled space of CODA Museum. The beauty and imagination of a fold in a sheet of paper are also expressed in the work of Simon Schubert (b. Germany, 1976). He uses a precise and ingenious folding technique to create the illusion of a 3D world that is also an expression of his expert craftsmanship.


Several artists have focused on the reality of the world we live in by reflecting on social issues in their work. Sustainability, climate change, and recycling are urgent and recurring themes. Wessel Verrijt (b. Netherlands, 1992), Majda Vodakovic (b. Serbia, 1990) and Stijn ter Braak (b. Netherlands, 1995) make life-size installations and monumental sculptures from found and recycled materials. Mingus Janssen (b. Netherlands, 1994) uses this year’s Paper Art to wonder what plants and animals in the area of national park the Veluwe think about climate change. He has produced a new edition of his Non-Human Newspaper, dealing with the effects of fertilisers and acidification on the local ecosystem. Huub Looze (b. Netherlands, 1964) and Margreet van Uffelen (b. Netherlands, 1969), of the design studio Omlab, explore the power and potential of toilet paper in Martin, a swallow’s nest made from toilet-paper pulp. Migration, and the obstacles faced by refugees on their arduous journeys, are the subject of A paper monument for the paperless by the visual artist Himmelsbach (b. Netherlands, 1983). This work, aimed particularly at people with different beliefs and values to his own, seeks to increase the profile of these anonymous and undocumented individuals.


In many cases, paper is not only the material but also the subject of the artwork. Ellen Mandemaker (b. Netherlands, 1968) has made installations for the exhibition using sheets of coloured paper which she hangs up, folds, and photographs. The act of taking the picture transcends the paper, so that the work is primarily about form and colour and the material is not immediately apparent. Paper is also the subject of Nat Karton (wet cardboard) by Bert Scholten (b. Netherlands, 1988), but in a very different way. It consists of a newspaper and a film about the villages of Oude Pekela, Nieuwe Pekela and Boven Pekela in the province of Groningen. Until the 1960s, this region had a flourishing strawboard industry, but after the factories closed it acquired a negative image. Wondering whether this was justified, Scholten spent a month in Oude Pekela and published a free local newspaper full of forgotten words and stories from the local cardboard sector.


Like previous events, this year’s CODA Paper Art focuses on craft and innovation. The textile artist and designer Sun Lee (b. South Korea, 1985) poses questions about the relationship between fashion and tradition, and between man and nature. What materials do we use to make what clothing? What do we wear, and can fashion ever become truly sustainable? The exhibition includes her series of paper garments entitled Consumption of heritage, and three new works that have been sustainably made and laser-cut at CODA ExperienceLab. In the kinetic installation Notes on movement by Zoro Feigl (b. Netherlands, 1983) a crumpled piece of paper seems to float unnaturally in mid-air, with stroboscopic light giving it a living, breathing appearance.

Jetty van Wezel x Paper Art

Jetty van Wezel (b. 1963, NL) is a multidisciplinary designer with a background in fashion and graphics. In her project Newshirt the shirt takes centre stage. Van Wezel uses folded newspaper to zoom in on world news. Iconic photographs, stories and other details are emphasised by being folded in, while other parts are folded out. The experimentation with materials that forms the basis of all her work has included not only newspaper, as in this new series Another shirt, but also gift-wrap, blotting paper, plastics, and sheet metal. Another shirt is not just a quest for the perfect balance of colour, line, and composition, but also a response to throwaway fashion and snack culture. In Van Wezel’s work, something as worthless as yesterday’s newspaper, other waste paper, or the wrapping from a pack of butter is given new life.


For CODA Jetty van Wezel has folded a collection of shirts that focuses on jewelry. A series of paper brooches is on sale in CODA Winkel.


The exhibition will be festively opened on Sunday 11 June at 2.30 pm. If you would like to attend the opening, please register via the pink button at www.coda-apeldoorn.nl/paperart.


Activities and catalogue
During the exhibition, CODA and various partners offer a wide range of activities; in the CODA building, but also outside and online. There is the Tour de Papier cycling tour, which takes you to special places on the Veluwe that tell the story of the region’s long-established paper industry. The tour is available as a brochure at CODA and can be downloaded free of charge at www.coda-apeldoorn.nl/tourdepapier. In CODA Atelier and CODA ExperienceLab various workshops and masterclasses introduce you to new techniques and devices. The CODA Paper Art 2023 catalogue will be available at CODA Winkel.

Participating artists
Ana Oosting • Bert Scholten • Dieuwke Spaans • Ellen Mandemaker • Fung + Bedford • Himmelsbach • Jonas Wijtenburg & Vincent de Boer • Maartje Korstanje • Majda Vidakovic • Marieke Coppens • Merijn en Jurriaan Hos • Mingus Janssen • Neo Matloga • Omlab • Simon Fujiwara • Simon Schubert • Stefan Venbroek • Stijn ter Braak • Sun Lee • Susanna Inglada • Wessel Verrijt • Zoro Feigl