Nguyen Hung Cuong, Cyr iopalus, Vietnam, 2006
Treasures of Origami Art
August 17th, 2007- January 6th, 2008
Curators: Dr. Saadya Sternberg & Galit De-Vriez
For the first time in Israel, a large-scale, up-to-date exhibit of origami art is being held at the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, in the city of Haifa. It features one hundred installations by twenty-five leading paper-folding artists, from ten countries. Nearly all the works were designed within the last decade and many were produced specifically for this exhibit. The subjects include animals and insects in all their details, human figures, geometric forms and more. All the works were made in accordance with the rules of origami: without the use of cuts or glue, and mostly from a single square sheet of paper.
A change has taken place in recent years in the field of origami. Where it once was just a pastime, today it also reveals a potential for sculptural expression in its fullest sense. In the right hands, a simple sheet of paper can turn into a thing of magic. The restrictions of the rules of origami may pose a certain challenge for creators, but they also confer continuity and integrity upon the end-result, and provoke in the viewer amazement and curiosity as to the formative process.
The art of origami has an ancient history, which centers on Japan. Its roots apparently lay in rituals of the Shinto religion and in the special relationship that has always existed in Japan with the thin material of paper. Specific folds were made for ceremonies such as weddings and were attached to the wrapping of gifts. The folding of paper into forms of the sort we are familiar with today began over 400 years ago. Shortly afterward the pastime spread also to Europe.
Yet the "golden age" of this art does not lay in the past: in fact, we are living in it today. The ranks of the leading designers and folders have been enriched by architects, sculptors, mathematicians and educators. As a result, tens of thousands of origami models have come into existence in recent decades; dozens of new origami books are published each year; and societies for paper-folding have sprung up all over the world - even in Israel. The advance is especially noticeable in the complexity of the models and in their beauty. Today, the leading designers have their works shown in galleries and museum exhibitions, and their origami stars in the media campaigns of large companies. Recently, interest has been shown even by the art collectors. Yet despite its movement into the larger world of art, origami has not cut itself off from its ancient and modern roots: from the simplicity of the primordial square sheet, and from the wonder and magic that are folded into creation.