Artist Statement

Paper Folding is an exciting area of art and design. The transformation of a flat sheet of paper to a three dimensional form through folding is easy and yet complex.  Folding a piece of paper can be simple and doesn’t require any sophisticated tools. However, to model the morphology and to understand the intrinsic properties found in paper folding scientifically is very difficult and requires sophisticated tools of mathematics and computer science. I’m intrigued by both the simplicity and the sophistication found in paper folding. In my work, I employ the language of paper folding to understand the tectonic relationship between materiality, structure, and geometric rhythm and pattern.  

Paper folding is unstable and flexible. Manipulation of the paper surface to achieve depth and volume is dynamic. The folds store kinetic energy, which allows the folded form to contract and unfurl. Alternate states of disequilibrium and equilibrium can be achieved by balancing, connecting, hinging, suspending, pulling, and popping up. Paper folding is unforgiving and honest. A folded form embeds the memory of a series of actions of scoring, creasing, twisting, wrapping, pressing, bending, and folding. Unfolding folded paper reveals a patterned map of creating and generating. Paper folding is generative and evolving. It is difficult to describe an abstract folded form through its visual characteristics. However, it can be easily described through a step by step procedure, or algorithm, of transforming a flat pattern into a three-dimensional form. The focus is therefore placed on the process rather than the product. Paper folding is improvisational and unpredictable. A simple fold has many possibilities and can generate many visual results, and it can only be discovered by folding.

My Story

I grew up in China in the Seventies when resources were extremely scarce. Most of the Chinese children at that time didn’t have toys – we played with simple things we made with our hands.  We played games with shuttlecocks made of feathers and bottle caps, slingshots made of rubber bands and wooden sticks, and of course, airplanes and balloons made of paper. Indeed, we made all sorts of objects from the paper: balls, baskets, dollhouses, bird figurines, and other objects. Paper was a common commodity, but it was not abundant and cheap during that time. We would fold and make objects using all kinds of paper from old newspapers, old magazines, and used notebooks. Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by the art and the science of folding paper. Paper folding seems to always start from a simple geometric pattern and then it evolves into a complex piece of art through the hands of an artist/designer.

During my first year in the College of Architecture and Urban Design and Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai, I was asked to design a structure from a single piece of paper – the rule was that you could fold or score the paper, but the paper needed to stay as one piece. The paper exercise was a classic of design school training, originally found in Joseph Albers’ preliminary design studio at the Bauhaus. The aim of the paper exercise was to introduce constructivism to the beginning design students: good design was characterized by economy of organization and construction and the material we used, in this case, paper, needed to be treated in ways that were inherently true and honest. For example, a flat piece of paper doesn’t have any stiffness. But once it is folded, its stiffness increases tremendously. I was in awe of the complexity of geometry and the simplicity of material application in the paper folding exercise, and I fell in love with art and design.

After I graduated from Tongji’s College of Architecture and Urban Design and Planning, I continued graduate studies in art and design in the United States, and I finished an MS in Interior Design and an MFA in graphic design. I am trained in and I have practiced design across a wide range of disciplines—interior design, architecture, urban planning, web design, interaction design, and graphic design.  In all of these, I am interested in understanding how elements and principles of design come into play through creative and constructive techniques toward transcending boundaries between these different disciplines.​

About Me

Jiangmei Wu is a tenured associate professor at Indiana University in the United States. She is an interdisciplinary scholar, making art and design projects involving mathematics, science, and engineering. Recently, she has been investigating the relationship between geometry, surface texture, computational algorithms, and making techniques in the art and science of paper folding. Her origami-inspired, large-scale installations have been exhibited in the cities across the United States as well as in China, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Thailand. In 2017, she won the American Mathematical Society’s award for best artwork in the category of textile, sculpture, or other media. She also holds three US patents (two granted and one pending) for her innovative design techniques. Her academic papers have been published in several leading research journals in the field of interior design and mathematical art. In addition to more than ten years of experience teaching art and design, Professor Wu has a decade of professional experience in graphic design and human-computer interface design.


Selected Creative Publications/Exhibition Reviews (Publications as Artist/Designer)

2021 Bon Ku and Ellen Lupton, “Health Design Thinking: Creating Products and Services for Better Health” 2nd Edition, MIT press. March 3, 2021. 
2018Ioana Paunescu, “Synergia: A Self-supporting Pavilion of Recycled and Recyclable Plastic,” Igloo, Burcharest, Romania, Issue 186, November, 2018. 
2018Origami-inspired installation made from recycled plastic lights up Columbus, Indiana,”, January 11, 2018. (work featured in online magazine). 
2017Lidija Grozdanic, “Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana,”, October, 18, 2017. (work featured in online magazine). 
2017Synergia,” CODAmagazine: The Magic of Color IV , October 2017. 
2017Sarah Rose Sharp, “In an Indiana Town, a Treasure Trove of Modernist Design,”, November 9, 2017. 
2017Enrique Ramirez, “Exhibit Columbus Brings a New Perspective to Modern Icons,” Metropolis, September 11, 2017.   
2017Murrye Bernard, “Celebrating the Architectural Legacy of Columbus, Indiana,” Contract Magazine, TalkContract, September 12, 2017. 
2017Patrick Sisson, “Exhibit Columbus: A Midwest town reasserts its modern architectural heritage,”, September 1, 2017. 
2017CODA Paper Art 2017,” Villa d’Arte, The Netherlands, Edition 3, June 30, 2017. 
2017Nicholas Kordy, “At Exhibit Columbus, S­­tudents Get a Chance to Test Their Ideas in the Real World,”, June 15, 2017. 
2017Meher McArthur, New Expressions in Origami Art: Master works from 25 Leading Paper Artists, Tuttle Publishing, Vermont, March 2017. 
2016Joseph Fraioli, “Bringing Math into the Fold: Art exhibit shows the results of regular polygons in crease patterns,” Scholastic MATH Magazine, December 5, 2016. 
2016(C)olumn,” CODAmagazine: The Written Words III, October 2016.(with Jon Racek). 
2016“2016 Niche Award Finalists,” Niche Magazine, Winter 2016. 
2015Meher McArthur, “New Expressions in Origami,” The Paper: The Magazine of OrigamiUSA, Winter 2015, Issue 118. 
2015Marquerite Serkin, “New Expressions in Origami,” Artscope, March/April 2015. 
2015Anemoi Light by Jiangmei Wu,”, July 2015. (work featured in online magazine). 
2015Ana Cosma, “Ruga Swan/Jiangmei Wu,”, May 2015. (work featured in online magazine). 
2015Ruga Swan/Jiangmei Wu,”, January 2015. (work featured in online magazine).  
2015Denise Bosler, “Folded Light Art + Design Branding,” Creative Anarchy: How to Break the Rules of Graphic Design for Creative Success, F & W Media Inc, New York, January 2015. (With You Zhang). 
2014Marc Almagro, “Show Stoppers,” Form, Singapore, December 2014. 
2014Harisadhi Leelayuwapan, “Asian Blood,” Wallpaper* (Thai Edition), December 2014. 
2014Itsaya Ngowsawat, “Truly Talented,” Elle Decoration Thailand, November 2014. 
2014Eli Blevis, “Maker Paper,” Interactions, July/August 2014. 
2014Anna Palige, “Folded Light Art by Jiangmei Wu,”, January 2014. (work featured in online magazine). 
2014“Folded Light Art + Design,” Good Idea 3, Guangzhou: Hightone Design book Cor.,Ltd, December 2013. (with You Zhang). 
2013Ted Savage, “Sunflower lamp by Jiangmei Wu,”, December 2013. (work featured in online magazine). 
2013Jordan Kushins, “Beautiful Light Fixtures Folded from Single Sheet of Tyvek,, December 2013. (work featured in online magazine). 
2013Leonora Sartori, “Beams of Light,” DAMn, Belgium, May/June 2013. 
2013Jun Li, “Thirteen Young Chinese Designers Shine in the Overseas,” Elle Decoration China, Shanghai, China, May 2013. 
2013Priscilla Balmer and Magali Prugnard, “L’Origami En Grande Forme,” Espaces Contemporains, Switzerland, May 2013. 
2013Estela Ataide, “Folded Origami,” House Trends, Portugal: PM Media Comunicacao S.A., Spring 2013. 
2013Brühlmann Erik, “Erstklassig beleuchten,” SonntagsZeitung, Switzerland, April 2013. 
2013Luca Curci, “Folded Light Art and Design – Cotton Paper Lights,”, March 2013. (work featured in online magazine). 
2013Ted Savage, “Torus Folded Lamp by Jiangmei Wu,”, February 2013. (work featured in online magazine). 
2013“Folded Light Art by Jiangmei Wu,”, January 2013. (work featured in online magazine). 
2012Elise Ying-Hei Ho, “Jiangmei Wu’s Origami Light Fixtures Burst with Luminescent Rays,”, December 2012. (work featured in online magazine). 
2012Camille Caruana, “Luminaires en origami,”, December 2012. (work featured in online magazine). 
2012Jon Dioffa, “Jiangmei Wu Creates Beautiful Origami-Inspired Pendant Lamps with Sustainable Materials,”, December 2012. (work featured in online magazine). 
2012Sustainable Origami Light,”, December 2012. (work featured in online magazine). 

Selected Press/Media Appearances (National and International)

2021 Maya Wei-Haas, “We need better face masks—and origami might help,” National Geographic, January 20, 2021
2020Stephen Robinson, “How to make an origami boat, “ How to Learn Everything, September, 2020.
2020Tara Parker-Pope, “A User’s Guide to Face Masks,” The New York Times, April 10, 2020.
2020A Designer’s DIY No-Sew Origami Mask + The Best Materials to Use Update,”, April, 2020.
2020Tara Parker-Pope, “What’s the Best Material for a Mask?” The New York Times, April 20, 2020.
2019Andy Kozlowski & Tiffany Esshaki, “Art exhibit to showcase versatility of paper,” C & G Newspaper, October 18, 2019.
2019Exhibit showcases elaborate, larger-than-life origami creations,” Fox 13 Tampa Bay, June 25, 2019.
2019Jennifer Ring, “A traveling exhibit brings origami’s best to St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts,” Creative Loafing Tampa, June 25, 2019.
2018“Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami,” On Maui!, September-October 2018.
2018Pau Hana, “Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami,” The Maui News, August 26, 2018.
2018Lisa Powell, “Last Chance to See It: Origami art reaches a whole new level in this Dayton exhibition,”, April 10th, 2018.
2018“CODA Paper Art 2017,” Villa d’Arte. The Netherlands, February 22, 2018.
2018Amy Dallis, “Above the Fold: A Cut Above,”, February 20, 2018.
2018Meredith Moss, “Paper magic! Origami from around the world at DAI,” Dayton Daily News, February 17, 2018.
2018Rachel Aragon, “Explore DAI’s new origami exhibit: Above the fold,”, February 16th, 2018.
2017Sarah Green, “Art Trip: Columbus, Indiana,” The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios, October 5, 2017. 
2017Deel Deze Pagina, “Papier verwondert en inspireert,” Ontdekcultuur, The Netherlands, June 2017.
2017Lou Harry, “Lou’s Views: Art exhibit accentuates architecture,” Indianapolis Business Journal, August 25, 2017.
2017Randall Forte: Federal arts funding beneficial to Lehigh Valley,The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, May 8, 2017.
2017Andrew Doerfler, “Must-see origami show in Allentown takes paper folding to the next level,” Lehigh Valley Live, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, March 7th, 2017.
2017Tim Higgins, “Allentown Art Museum exhibit: Origami, elevated to art,” The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, March 21, 2017.
2016Solvej Schou, “Exhibit unfolds origami’s beauty as large-scale art,” Associated Press News, June 29, 2016 (review also appeared in San Diego Union Tribute and The Columbian) .
2016Gemma Zoe Price, “A First Look at Single Thread, Sonoma County’s New Restaurant, Inn and Farm,” Wall Street Journal Magazine, June 15, 2016.
2016Adrienne Alpert, “Above the Fold Breaks Tradition at Japanese American National Museum,” ABC Eyewitness News, Los Angeles, CA, June 14, 2016
2016Avishay Artsy, “L.A. Exhibit Showcases the Global Reach of Origami,” KCRW, Santa Monica, CA, May 25, 2016.
2016Chelsea Abdullah, “Longmont origami exhibit is ‘Above the Fold’,” Boulder Weekly, Boulder, Colorado, March 31, 2016.
2016Brett Callwood, “Longmont Museum origami exhibit unfolds Friday,” Times-Call, Longmont, Colorado, February 11, 2016.
2016The Longmont Museum’s Above the Fold Origami Exhibit,”, City of Longmont, Colorado, February 11, 2016.
2016Ray Mark Rinaldi, “Visual Art: The fine art of origami in Longmont,” The Denver Post, Denver, Colorado, February 11, 2016.
2015Laura Goldstein, “Vancouver’s Lighting Architecture Movement Project shines a light on the best in contemporary lighting,” The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada, November 4, 2015.
2015Kenny Kemp, “Above the Fold, Origami Exhibit Shows Power of Paper,” Gazette-Mail, September 2015.
2015“Toyota City International Art Festival,” Toyota City Cultural Promotion Foundation TV Interview, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
2015Satoru Kato, “Origami: Jiangmei Wu’s Folded Light Art and Design,” Nihon Josei Shimbun, Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2015.
2015桥诘Miyuki, “Complex Paper Folded Design,” Chunichi Shimbun, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, July 2015.
2015Satoru Kato, “International Art Festival Feature Artist Jiangmei Wu,” Yahagi Shinpo, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, June 2015.
2015Betsy Di Julio, “Origami Exhibit is Above the Fold,” Veer Magazine, Norfolk, Virginia, June 2015.
2015Don Stewart, “Origami: It’s not just for cranes anymore,The Recorder, Greenfield, Massachusetts, April 2015.
2015Susan Dunne, “Above the Fold’ Origami Show in Springfield,” Hartford Courant, February 16, 2015.
2015Kathryn Roy,“Springfield Museums welcomes unique origami exhibit,” The Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts, February 2015.

Interviews and Media Appearances (Local)

2020 Lauren McLaughlin “IU professor’s origami mask design to be manufactured and marketed,” Indiana Daily Students, April 20, 2020, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
2020Sarah Bahr, “You can make this no-sew origami mask in under two minutes,” Indianapolis Monthly, April 13, 2020.
2020Jenny Porter Tilley, “Origami artist hopes her masks will slow spread of COVID-19,” Herald Times, April 7, 2020
2020Origami artist turns to folding face masks amid pandemic need,” Research Impact, April 2, 2020.
2019Elliott Bill, “Paper Architect,” Pride of IU. Artistic Endeavors, Arts & Culture, May 23, 2019.
2019Elliott Bill, “Original,” Indiana University Alumni Magazine, Spring 2019, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
2019Lynn Schoch, “The Art and Science of Paper Folding,” IU International Magazine, Spring 2019, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
2016“Celebration in Art,” WTIU (Local Public Television), Premiered November 27, 2016 at 6:30 pm, Bloomington, Indiana.
2016  Mary Keck, “Professor Jiangmei Wu uses the science of paper folding to create artistic designs,” Inside IU, November 16, 2016, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
2016(Re)Imagining Science exhibition at Grunwald Gallery turns collaboration into an art,” Art at IU, October 18, 2016, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
2015Carmen Siering, “Jiangmei Wu: Blurring the Bounds of Art and Design,” Bloom, September 2015, Bloomington, Indiana.
2015Kathy Jonas, “What Is that Arty, Wordy Thing at South Walnut and 2nd Street,” Bloom, January 2015, Bloomington, Indiana (with Jon Racek).
2014The Weekly Special: Expressions,” WTIU (Local Public Television), Premiered April 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm, Bloomington, Indiana. (Expressions section starts at 7’55”)
2014Christian Kemp, “BEAD plans for symbolic art sculpture,” Indiana Daily Students, Bloomington, Indiana.
2013Alexsis Benveniste, “Wu discusses her folded sculptures,” Indiana Daily Students, September 23, 2013, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
2013IU professor’s ‘folded light art’ to be on exhibit,” Art at IU, October 28, 2013, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Selected Exhibition Catalogs (Publications as Artist/Designer)

2019 2019 Art Exhibition Catalog, Bridges Linz 2019: Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture, Johannes Kepler University, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, July 2019.
2018Weiguo Xue, Learning, Prototyping and Adapting, CAADRIA 2018 (The 23rd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia), May 2018.
2017Exhibit Columbus: Annual Exploration of Architecture, Art, Design and Community, Landmark Columbus, Columbus, Indiana.
2017Christoph Irmscher and Rosamond Purcell, (Re)Imagining Science, Indiana University Press, 2017.
2017Roosmarij Deenik, Paper Art 2017, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands, May 2017.
2017Weiguo Xue, Towards Digital New Architecture, CAADRIA 2017 (The 22nd Annual Conference of the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia), April 2017.
2017Mathematical Art Exhibition, SIGMAA-ARTS (Mathematical Association of American), January 2017.
2015Craft Forms 2015: 21st International Juried Exhibition of Contemporary Craft, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania.
2014“Asian Talents: Ideas for Tomorrow,” Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) Expo 2014, Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand.
2014“Asian Talents: 10 Eco Designers,” Thailand Innovation and Design Expo 2014, Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Thailand.