Paperweight Biennale IV

Digital Edition

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The paperweight as a specific use object first came into being in Europe during the industrial revolution in the mid 1840’s. The initial weights were made with traditional glass production techniques and became popular due to the fashionable middle class leisure activity of letter writing. Through their inclusion at the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace in London in 1851 and New York in 1853 the paperweight was brought to the attention of the world and gained popularity in North America long after it had faded from interest in Europe.


Paperweights are no longer exclusively the realm of glass half orbs filled with colourful designs. The paperweight, for this exhibition, is an aesthetic object given a negligible job, to sit there and weigh something down, in order to make it useful. Though the question of use in art is perhaps now viewed as obtuse it remains difficult to properly answer, like which armrest is yours at the theater.

It has been hosted in Vancouver (2014), San Diego (2016) and Mexico City (2018) and online (2020).