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Originally trained as an architect, US-based artist Christina Lihan creates elaborate paper relief sculptures, mounted in shadowboxes and ranging from two to six inches deep. As subjects she has taken buildings ranging from the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal to private residences and American cities.

All carefully assembled in detailed layers, the artworks are composed of unpainted, 300lb. Coldpress watercolour paper. Lihan begins her work by photographing and sketching the site, generally creating scaled charcoal drawings that she then enlarges to the planned size of the finished piece. She lays out the buildings directly over these sketched forms, and cutting out details in place and ultimately assembling all the components into the finished composition.

All carving, scoring, cutting, and folding is completed by hand, and lihan admits that, basing her work primarily on its aesthetic effect rather than on mathematical measurement, she frequently resizes the pieces over the course of production to achieve the most accurate perspective.

'uffizi', a paper shadowbox sculpture

'Taj Mahal'

'South Beach Condominium'

'Place Des Vosges'



closer view, 'Palladio'

'George Washington bridge'

'Eiffel Tower'

detail view of base of 'Eiffel Tower'

To create the sculptures, Lihan overlays paperwork over full-scale sketches of the architecture

process shot


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