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Part from untitled installation
(The H. Lichter Prize, 9th Spiral Independent Creators Festival, Spiral Hall,Tokyo,
May 2008) (C) Hideo Iwasaki
Part from "Mobile Composition I " (installation, 2007) (C) Hideo Iwasaki
Part from "Mobile Composition II " (installation, 2007) (C) Hideo Iwasaki
Part from "Mobile Composition III " (installation, 2007) (C) Hideo Iwasaki
Part from "Polymorphosis" (installation, 2004) (W 2000 mm x D 1300 mm x H 1000 mm, black paper, acryl and mirror) exhibited
at the first Toyota Triennale Art Festival in the Toyota Musium, Japan (won the Triennale Sculpture Award, 2004). (C) Hideo Iwasaki
Papercut art ('Kirie' in Japanese) is said to originate from China, and has moved to and developed in some countries like Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Russia etc. There is also a Jewish papercut tradition. Generally, traditional Chinese papercuts depict beautiful view-scenes and ancient Chinese stories/figures minutely, and they also function as seasonally special ornaments in farm villages. In Europe a typical paparcut creation is sihlouette rather than elaborate decoration. For example, the Danish fairy-tale author and poet, Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) is also known for creating such type of paper arts. The French painter Henri Matisse (1869-1954) made some papercut pieces in his end period. They are based on combination of pieces of color paper depicting roughly shaped figures etc. In Japan, papercut was traditionally used for seasonal ornaments in shrines, paper stencils for dyeing, and later for a cut or illustration in books or newspapers. Japanese papercut artists have developed very stylish artworks which show typical 'Japonism' designs. For example, Jiro Takidaira (1921-) and the late Masayuki Miyata (1926-1997) are famous grandmasters of Japanese Kirie Arts. Seiji Fujihiro (1924-) is also popular for his colorful fairy-tale shadow paintings based on the kirie technique.
Recently, some younger Japanese artists present unique cutting performance in more modern or neo-classical styles and context. For example, a popular artist Risa Fukui (1975-) has created elaborate design of figures and animals, which combine woodcut-like design with extremely vivid color composition to exhibit stimulating pop artworks. A painter, Katsuya Komagata (1959-) is also known for his aesthetic kirie pieces with some decadant taste, reminiscent of works of the end of the 19th century (e.g. Aubrey Beardsley). He has sometimes exhibited his works under dim light conditions or show black papar works with black mounts, providing unique possibility of papercut in contemporary art scene.
My working principle: be more flexible, stereoscopic and vivid! I have created papercut since I was 7 years old, at which time I first met Chinese papercut works. For me, papercut is distinguishable from other flat painting categories like drawing, printing, and woodcut and so on with some characteristics. For example, it can be seen even if you turn the paper over. So, in my opinion, this three-dimensional nature and the feeling of freedom must be taken into consideration for creating papercut. Actually, its texture and fragility are very important factors in papercutting, and these unique properties realize and reflect so called ' bodiness' in art performance itself. Thinking of the basic nature and possibility of papercut performance for many years led me to an idea that the paper-art must be suitable for expression in a contemporary art field, in addition to the traditional design work. It was in late 1980's.
My working principle is to pursue the papercut's own characteristics per se, without any other factors (such as color nor concrete design), and to show abstract composition which consists of many unrelated small patches of image --as if a series of modern ballet performances (see image below, "Polylogos I and II ", 2003). Therefore, I do not prepare any sketch or outlines with pens to avoid material-dependent effects, but perform drawing with knife from the beginning as inprovisation. Moreover, I deny fixing a piece of paper to a flat mount and setting any directions to see in my workpieces. Recently I am extending this idea to creating combination of several pieces of papercut as ethree-dimensional papercut installationf (see Mobile Composition series on the top). They should be more flexible, variable, stereoscopic, dynamic and vivid!
gPolylogos I and IIh (2003), in an exhibition gMessages from Young Artistsh at the Sudo Musium Gallery, Ginza, Tokyo, 2003. (C) Hideo Iwasaki