Collection of folded paper constructions

Donation by E.B. Wolff, Amsterdam
Acquisition: 2003
Size: Most of the pieces are 5 x 5 cm.
Shelfmark: PC.C ORI KOL 01

In the summer of 2003 Eva Wolff donated a collection of folded paper objects made by her son Frank van Kollem to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek's Paperhistorical Collection. The collection had been stored in a small brown suitcase since Frank's death. 'Frank's suitcase' contained more than hundred works, many no more than a few centimetres in size. Each piece was individually stored in a plastic sleeve or placed with others in a cigar box. Altogether, it makes for an intriguing collection, created by someone with a very special gift.
Frank was a physics and mathematics genius, as well as a gifted linguist. It may have been his fascination for mathematical principles that led to these geometrical constructions of folded paper. At first glance, many of the art works - sometimes no bigger than five by five centimetres and a few millimetres thick - look like mats woven from small strips of blank paper. In reality, however, they have all been folded from a single sheet. The wide variety of regular, repeated patterns (the front and back of most pieces are different), the small size and perfect execution, right down to the smallest detail, evoke our astonishment and admiration.

Experts who have examined Frank van Kollem's works at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek conclude that some of the figures are reminiscent of tessellations, the products of a new movement in the world of origami. However, the level of detail and the small size of the pieces from Frank's suitcase make his work unique.
The Koninklijke Bibliotheek's conservation department is still looking for an appropriate way to store the works in order to protect them from damage while still allowing them to be viewed from all angles. This will satisfy the express wish of the donor that her son's work be preserved for future generations and yet remain well accessible. (HP)