Brickwork clothes, makeup-brush feet, a dog’s or bird’s head, monster eyes and hands, doughnut lips, flippers and accessories in the form of everything from fuel trucks to muffins: Klaudia Schifferle’s paper dolls are composed of magazine cutouts collaged on A4 paper. Created from 2011–2016, the collages are colorful, cheeky, sometimes cute, and mostly mischievous. The artist also painted detailed renditions of some of them in oils.
The use of found images endows these Paperdolls with a twofold value. They incarnate quotidian objects of our day and age, while concomitantly prying open our everyday perceptions and reminding us of sensations and moments in our own consumer lives. Paper dolls date back to ancient Chinese funeral rites and katashiro figures in Japanese healing rituals. In Europe, paper cutouts of figures for fashion-following bourgeoises evolved into a popular and inexpensive pastime for children. In the US, paper dolls had their heyday during the Great Depression.
Now they have become an important and expressive medium for contemporary artists to comment on current trends and day-to-day life. And Schifferle’s Paperdolls are inextricably bound up with present-day life through the use of collage, which was resurrected in the 20th century to become a signature technique of modern art. They are, in a word, paper-thin slices of modern-day life, mixed and pieced together in novel, playful and incongruous ways for posterity.