Paper Landscape

Guy Sherwin

Guy Sherwin, Paper Landscape #1, London, 1975 / Brussels, 2015

Paper Landscape #1

Expanded film performance with transparent screen and white paint, Super 8mm projector, color, silent, Super 8, 10 minutes.

UK 1975


Paper Landscape is one of a series of self-portrait performances that see Sherwin as a kind of film magician interacting in the live moment with a pre-recorded version of himself. Here, the artist stands behind a transparent screen onto which he applies white paint. This white surface makes visible an image of the same artist tearing up a paper screen to reveal a landscape behind. The performance progresses until the screen is entirely covered yet simultaneously uncovered, as the live action gives way to a filmed representation. Finally, the filmed figure disappears into the distance and the live performer cuts through the screen to reappear in front of the audience. (Kim Knowles)

“The most vivid portrayal of [...] paradoxical space must be Guy Sherwin's film-performance 'Paper Landscape' (1975/2003). Here, for one magical moment, we believe that the filmed protagonist (the artist himself), after slowly tearing away the paper screen obscuring the view, has transgressed the surface of the image and entered the great beyond, running into an English pastoral idyll, only to be shattered when the back-painted projection screen is slashed by the present day artist, bringing us back into our dislocated present” (Hays 2007).



Paper Landscape #2

Expanded film performance with transparent screen and white paint, video projector, Super 8mm projector, color, video (sound), Super 8 (silent), 20+ minutes.

Japan 2016


Forty years later, Guy Sherwin has re-worked the idea for digital video and sound – recorded in the rice fields of Itoshima, Japan. So far, Paper Landscape #2 has been performed together with Paper Landscape #1, the newer version preceding the earlier one.


Guy Sherwin, born in 1948, lives and works in London.



Nicky Hamlyn, “Mutable Screens: The Expanded Films of Guy Sherwin, Lis Rhodes, Steve Farrer and Nicky Hamlyn,” in Expanded Cinema: Art, Performance, Film, eds. A.L. Rees, Duncan White, Steven Ball, and David Curtis (London: Tate Publishing, 2011), pp. 212–220.

Dan Hays, “Painting in the Light of Digital Reproduction,” Culture Machine 9, 2007 (

Dan Hays, “Pastoral Idyll: Guy Sherwin’s Paper Landscape,” Moving Image Review and Art Journal 5(1-2), 2016, pp. 246–255.

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