Adriena Pekarova: Paper Spirals – Discovery and Meaning

By Adriena Pekarova: Art historian, curator, editor and artist in Bratislava, Slovakia

The spiral is an amazing motif. One can draw it with a pencil on paper or with a finger in sand, model it out of clay, embroider it on a textile, or twirl it from paper. I twist my spirals from newspapers. First, I choose full-page or smaller pictures with interesting colours, graphics and advertisements, mostly for films, concerts or theatre plays, or I choose blocks of text. Then I roll them into thin tubes that I shape into strips and turn them into spirals. I like to layer different colour shades and mix and match contrasts, patterns or fonts. The resulting spiral is a completely original story that both shows – and hides – an image, colour or text, recreated as a new colour scheme or design made of typography fragments.

My technique is very simple, almost primitive, using “waste” newspapers intended for recycling. My favourite ‘raw material’ is Dennik N. which was launched three years ago as an independent newspaper. I have been a subscriber, devoted reader and supporter from the very beginning, as the paper represents the voice of independence and openness. In addition to quality content, I like the paper´s graphic design, layout, and fresh approach to reproducing artwork. All of these things made me sorry to dispose of them after reading. So I kept them aside, allowing them to pile up while I thought about how to give them a new life. After nearly a year, I remembered how shelter workshops use waste paper to manufacture baskets. As I cooperate with many of these workshops on a regular basis, the next step could not have been easier.

The first spirals I made were brooches for my friends. Because they all liked them so much, I had to make more and more. It is amazing how each coil is a different, combination of colours, images and structure. The possibilities still surprise me. To me, the process of turning an everyday object like a newspaper into a spiral results in a kind of secret code. The movement of the spiral sets this code into motion and draws attraction to its new form.

Even though my spirals are not made of fabric, I identify myself as ‘spiral friendly’. The motif has been with us since prehistoric times. Perhaps it expresses indefinable feelings about the passage of time and our evolving experience at a glance.