Traditional and modern papercutting
―The universal spirit engraved on paper―
Papercutting has the fragility of openwork cut out from a single sheet of paper with a knife, which presents an atmosphere of tension. And the tension naturally resonates with Japanese who have found purity and sanctity in the whiteness of paper.
Papercutting has a long history and it was brought from mainland China to Japan. Some works of the Tang dynasty, China (AD 618- 907) are preserved in the Shosoin (the ancient treasury in Japan). And then the art spread across the country. At religious ceremonies such as Kagura (a performance of sacred music and dancing) and annual events such as Tanabata (the Star Festival), papercutting has been part of Japanese life as folk art of decorating space and directing special time.
Initially, I didn’t think that the traditional papercutting was related to my creation. But I came to understand that both overlap considerably regarding reason or purpose to create because traditional papercutting embodied people’s wishes and prayers for invisible things by cutting out of paper and I’m trying to create a visible work from formless things. This made me realize that my work is an act of re-creating the spirit of traditional papercutting as a modern papercutting to make them co-exist harmoniously, as well as a means of giving expression to my own ideas as an artist.
While I learn about folk culture and sacred art generated by people’s wishes and prayers, I continue to produce works with the goal of creating my papercutting filled with not only the form and design on the surface of these cultural heritages but also human’s universal spirit within them.