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Art, Altered Paper, and Creativity

The workshop led by Antonio Manzoni starts with a fundamental inquiry: "how can creativity be nurtured in individuals of all ages?" and offers illustrations of experiments customized to the participant's age.

Lubica Paper Summit 2023

Antonio Manzoni

In the vast world of art and education, the importance of creativity has been explored and celebrated in numerous contexts, from individual development to the stimulating laboratory experience in elementary schools. The analysis by Neapolitan visual artist Antonio Manzoni has highlighted the need to surpass conventional limits and embrace an innovative perspective. According to his vision - drawing from the pedagogical theories of Bruno Munari - in the pursuit of creativity, inherent in each individual, error is an essential element for a continuous creative journey, and creativity itself needs to be nurtured through the exploration of different perspectives and the adoption of innovative solutions.

The starting point of Manzoni's analysis is the definition of several concepts:

Imagination: to envision anything.

Creativity: the union of imagination and fantasy, it is putting together what wasn't there in an essential and comprehensive manner.

Paper, besides possessing unique properties that allow its use in architecture such as sound absorption, lightweight, and structural resistance, stands out for its versatility as a fundamental medium for artistic expression and learning, as demonstrated by practical experiences conducted with subjects of various ages, from 0 to 90 years old. The workshop emphasized how paper, with its accessibility, eco-compatibility, and ease of use, offers fertile ground for creative growth and joyful learning. Through a series of practical activities, differentiated based on the participants' ages, it emerged how paper can adapt to a wide range of creative needs.

The pedagogical approach adopted did not experience setbacks during the COVID epidemic, given the participation of students in online workshops which saw, in the age groups of 0-6 years, the advantage of parental involvement in a collaborative learning perspective that fostered creativity and play. The use of paper was presented as a means to facilitate gradual learning and allow participants to explore increasingly complex artistic activities in a fun and progressive manner.

Through various activities, depending on the age group of the participants, Manzoni highlighted how paper is a limitless means of expression, with some examples:

0-3 years: sensory workshop with paper (touch, observe, listen).

4-5 years: creation of cardboard models inspired by children's dwellings; origami.

6-10 years: workshops on the concept of space, 2D, and 3D.

Adolescents: Pop-Up books (Kirigami), stop motion videos.

Adults: Altered books, wearable sculptures.

The experience revealed how paper can serve as a vehicle for communication, identity, and connection, bringing together students from diverse educational backgrounds on a collective journey of self-expression and self-discovery. Manzoni emphasized the importance of encouraging students to explore the infinite creative possibilities offered by paper, rediscovering its undeniable magic as a medium of expression and inspiration. The workshop demonstrated that art on paper knows no limits and that every individual has the potential to express themselves and create in unique and personal ways, nurturing their own creativity.

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