A hobby only practised by old ladies on dark winter evenings? Not a bit of it! Paper cuts today are complex mini-sculptures, as can be seen from some of the 105 works created by Swiss artists in paper specially for an exhibition in the Forum of Swiss History in Schwyz.
Black cows, goats and herdsmen: ever since the 18th century paper cuts have been the medium par excellence for illustrating the movement of animals up to the mountain pastures and back. Such traditional idyllic motives form part of the exhibition "Scherenschnitte. Papiers découpés. Silhouette. Paper cuts." It is the eighth Swiss paper cut exhibition and can be seen in the Schwyz branch of the Swiss National Museum until March 9, 2014.
These traditional subjects still figure in the delicate art works cut by scissors or by knife. But the cows now parade on the plastic cover of a 40 tonne lorry, dominate the window of a souvenir shop or look down from walls of posters along the busy motorway, where trees everywhere grow out of flower pots.
But the modern section also features truly three-dimensional works of art. For example the "Love letter without words", in which Estrellita Fauquex has luxuriant red flowers and strawberries tumbling over each other as they grow out of an envelope.
After Schwyz the exhibition will move to the museum in Prangins in western Switzerland in 2014.
(Pictures: © Swiss National Museum)