Paper Olympians is a series of serial plane sculptures by Raya Sader Bujana, an artist and jewelry maker from Barcelona who primarily works in paper.

Tennis player by Raya Sader Bujana. Photo by Leo Garcia Mendez.

Tennis player by Raya Sader Bujana. Photography by Leo Garcia Mendez.

The sculptures, which showcase different Olympic disciplines by highlighting a recognizable posture from each, had an unlikely origin. Abel Mitja, a stock photographer, wanted to expand his library. “He initially got in touch through the recommendation of a friend that knew I work with paper,” said Sader Bujana. “During our first meeting, he told me that he was interested in doing something in paper art that represented the olympics.”

bicycle

The series involved months of sketching and designing before a single piece of paper was cut. “One of the first ideas was to create paper sculptures of specific elements from each discipline, for example: tennis racket/ball, basketball, running shoe, gymnastics elements, etc. Then I decided to focus more on recognizable postures and movement of each discipline.”

swimmers

The sculptures use the serial planes technique, which involves layers of paper separated by spacers. “Serial planes is a technique that I used a lot during my architecture studies, a lot of the times for landscapes, so I found that the idea of applying it to the human body would be very interesting.” The end result is that the sculptures showcase light, shadow, and depth in a way that neither flat paper nor traditional 3D objects can quite match.

football

More amazing, though, is that Sader Bujana cut and assembled every piece by hand. “I really believe in the beauty of craftsmanship and in things handmade, so I wanted that to be a part of the look. It was a huge job and took many many hours of work — some of the figures had around 150 tiny pieces and up to 500 3mm separators. But I really think it was worth it and the end result was really satisfying.”

javelin