Gangolf Ulbricht was born in 1964 in Freiberg, then East Germany, and studied industrial papermaking, but he soon understood that his passion for traditional handmade processes would guide him along a more personal path. He worked with book and paper artist, John Gerard and was trained by master Jacques Brejoux in Angoulême, France. He also spent a year in Japan learning from masters there. In 1992 he opened his own studio in Berlin, where he still works. His practice, which mixes occidental and Japanese know-how, is characterised by the use of textiles as raw materials. Gangolf works with authentic historical paper moulds to make each sheet by hand, one by one, which results in paper with very specific textures and different qualities.Read the full interview
When the pulp fibres are well prepared (beaten) and the mould functions well, you can make sheet after sheet with a regular rhythm and it becomes almost holistic: you lose yourself in the process, letting yourself go with the flow.Why does paper appeal to you?
Paper has so many qualities, which characterise each sheet. Every one makes a sound, has a surface, a thickness, a reflection or transparency, a grip, a colour; it is a tactile, haptic material.
Thanks to experience and experimentation, I created a method to produce extremely thin paper. The thinnest papers weigh only 1.5 g/m², which is quite unique for handmade paper. I also manage the handmade production of very large formats, allowing me to collaborate with artists who need big sizes.Can you describe a memorable moment in your professional life?
Entering in a room of the Albertina Museum in Vienna, I had a very familiar feeling. I then found out that the recently restored wallpaper was made using my own paper: what a surprise!