An exhibition in Berlin at the spacious Berlin Kunstprojekt, in collaboration with ALC, Japan, featured three Japanese artists who represent the Contemporary craft of art from their island nation.
Each artist works in a mixed media art form as an expression of their Japanese identity fused with elements of pop culture.
Japan is known for the art of paper : such as Washi, handmade paper; Origami, the art of paper folding; and Kirie, the ancient form of paper cutting. Hiroji Chiba, a Tokyo artist, has studied the medium of paper and utilizes hundreds of intricately cut pieces to create a visually striking statement. Each work represents the intersection of a techno world and artificial nature. Love and Peace is made up of feathered cut pieces of white paper to suggest some kind of man made mechanical power of movement. The backdrop for this winged wonder is a collage of newspapers and magazines in English, rather than Japanese. Chiba enjoys the play on a futuristic world, where nature is replicated with an underlying, hidden agenda. In Japan, a country that reveres nature, it would be astounding to consider the substitution of fake over real, but it is also a country that encourages technological advancement. The ultimate question remains - where it will lead in the future? Another work by Chiba, A fallen leaf in the Future, is a paper cutout of a leaf with a section cutaway to reveal cogs, wheels and a portion of a circuit board. Even the supposedly metal circuitry turns out of be made of paper. Although, Chiba's pulp-derived wings, leaves and trees seem to focus on the natural beauty of nature, they are also representative of an expose, in which the inner workings are not to be seen, like the backdrop of a movie set.
( March / April 2005 )