To Hans Christian Andersen paper was not meant to be media for the written word only. Paper - it seems - represented the basis for his imaginative expressing. Through out his life Hans Christian Andersen was an addict to paper. He wrote on it, he drew on it - and he used it to cut in. Like the ancient expression that he form and art was hidden in the stone, only to be revealed by the sculptor, the poet used his material - the paper - to engrave, or rather to carve out his ideas with ink. And more radically he used his unexpected monstrous scissors to cut out the most elegant figures.
In order to amuse his friends and their children Hans Christian Andersen made his paper cuts. Hans Christian Andersen was in fact a very popular paper cutter. In almost every memoir made by his acquaintances a recollection over this activity of the author is made. There is no straight connection between the authors paper cuts and his fairy tales, but he used to accompany his paper cutting with a fantastic tale, and end the tale by unfolding the paper to the amazed listeners.
The paper cuts were not only meant to be a pleasure for the eye but also a challenge to the mind. Often there was a hidden meaning in the paper cuttings - in the same way, as we know it from the fairy tales: on the surface it could amuse, in the depth it would amaze. Some of the paper cuts are purely picture puzzle or rebus others are icons combined to represent a linguistic symbol.
The double meaning hidden in the paper cuts demonstrates the way of thinking of the fairy tale author. It reveals an utmost modern way of thinking, using the word not as a media to create meaning but as a material of meaning itself.
The images may be used for non-commercial purposes with the following notification: Source: Odense City Museums. The images may not be resold, used for advertisement, nor other commercial purposes.
Enquiries regarding use for any commercial purpose must be made to Odense City Museums partner on trademark licensing:
You can order the images in a high resolution suitable for reproduction purpose by sending an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.