Surihaku and Washi Workshop at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center

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Mikado Suzuki demonstrated Surihaku techniques at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center in Bloomington, Indiana.

Japaneses artist Mikako Suzuki led a engaging hands-on workshop to 14 participants, including IUB art students and Bloomington community artists, at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center in Bloomington, Indiana, on Friday September 1st from 1:00 pm to 4:00pm. The workshop was translanted by Rowland Ricketts, who is a professor in Textile at IU School of Art, Architecture + Design, and who has spent years studying Japnese indigo techniques in Japan.

Surihaku is a Japanese art of gold foil painting. Eacho of the participants learned to create stencil designs and transfer the design to three Washi paper postcards susing gold foils. The Washi paper postcards were made in Japan in Professor Shibazaki’s paper making lab at Aichi University of Arts. Professor Shibazaki alse gave a talk on Washi paper during the second part of the workshop. The participant learned about the difference in the fibers that are used to make different types of Washi, Gampi, Mitsumata and Kozo.

The video below shows Mikako demonstrating how to apply the Nori, a type of Japanese ahesive to the stencil.

 

The video below shows Mikako demonstrating how to apply the gold foil to the stencil.

 

Washi Art + Design at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center

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Washi Art + Design at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington, Indiana

Washi Art and Design, an international paper art exhibition, is the first group exhibition I curated and organized. The show runs from August 26th to September 21, 2017, at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center in Bloomington, Indiana. The participating artists are Yuri Kawai (Japan), Sachiko Kinoshita (Japan), Amanda Ross (U.S.), Rowland Ricketts (U.S.), Koji Shibazaki (Japan), Jenny Stopher (U.S.), Mikao Suzuki (Japan), Ruigan Zhou (China), and myself.

The Exhibition is focused on the theme of Washi and other paper art. Washi paper is made from the long inner fibers of three plants: Kozo (mulberry tree), Mitsumata, and Gampi. Due to these raw materials and the traditional craft techniques, Washi papermaking has no adverse environmental impact. The paper is very durable and can last as long as a few hundred years.  In Japan, Washi has played a significant role in the lifestyle and culture of the Japanese people. In addition to its more common uses in stationary and in the fine arts, Washi is used in many different cultural activities such as in religious and ceremonial events. Its fabric-like quality makes it suitable for applications in fashion, interior lighting, and interior furnishing. Though there is a long history of Washi papermaking in Japan, today only a few Washi papermakers are continuing their papermaking traditions, and Professor Koji Shibazaki’s Washi research lab at Aichi University of Arts is one of them.

A Surihaku (gold foil painting) workshop was conducted by artist Mikako Suzuki at the Waldron Arts Center. For more information about the workshop, please visit here.

The exhibition and workshop are supported in part by a workshop grant from Indiana University’s College Arts & Humanities Institute.

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Washi paper light by Professor Koji Shibazaki of Aichi University of Arts
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Jiangmei Wu explaining to Professor Katy Borner about the intricate Kirikane art by Japanese artist Mikako Suzuki as Professor Hamid Ekbia watched on
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Japanese textile artist Sachiko Kinoshita’s Swing Circle is made of yarn and Kozo paper fiber

Light Harvest at CODA Paper Art 2017

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CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands

This summer I was invited to participate in an international paper art biennial at CODA museum in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. I exhibited Light Harvest, a large interactive installation art that is inspired by the intriguing protein structure of Light-harvesting Complexes (LHC). LHC contains pigments that absorb light and transfer the solar energy to chemical energy.

Three large crates,  about 37.5″ D x 22.5″ H x 73″ L, and one small crate, about 28.5″ D x 19″ L x 33.5″ H, were shipped from Bloomington, Indiana, to Apeldoorn, Netherlands, in early May.  My team and I arrived in Apeldoorn in late May. We rented a small Airbnb house near the museum for four days and were able to walk to the museum to work every day. It was an enjoyable experience. On the first day, the museum staff helped us set up the ceiling canopy in the exhibition space. On the second and the third day, we worked on the paper structure installation and the technical setup. On the fourth day, we worked on the projection mapping.

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After we arrived in Apeldoorn, Kyle Overton and I decided that we would try a new way of coding in Processing to produce a different interactive experience than the previous installation at the Grunwald Gallery. As a result, Kyle spent most of the four days writing 1500 lines of the codes! The Processing outputs a smooth gradation of cool blue and green hues, to be projection-mapped onto the folded Light Harvest protein structure.  The green and blue gradation of light, projected from three projectors, mimics the deep water in which certain photosynthetic algae with a particular class of phycobilin pigments live. Each pigment, contained within LHC, has a unique absorption spectrum, allowing it to absorb certain wavelengths of light. These particular algae, appearing to be red, can carry out photosynthesis in deep water where the wavelengths of blue-green lights are most abundant by absorbing blue-green and reflecting red! When viewers enter the exhibition floor and interact with each chain of Light Harvest, the chain will turn into red-orange color. The interaction means to let the viewers know that photosynthesis is in action!

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Entering the Light Harvest exhibition area, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherland
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Installation showing one of the protein chains changing from cool blue-green to warm red-orange, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands

I would like to say thank you the CODA Museum staff, particularly Roosmarij Deenik and Helma Peters for helping to turn this project into a reality.

Project Credits:

Jiangmei Wu (with Kyle Overton and Susanne Ressl)

Production team: Steven Dixon, Siqiao Gao, Dexter Wu

Kaleidoscope 5 at Culver City, California

Ruga Lumina at 3labs, Culver City, California

I was invited to participate at Kaleidoscope 5 in 3Labs in Culver City, California, in May of 2017. The exhibition featured seven engaging installations from nine artists:  Alex Beim, Ben Jones, Kate Parsons and Ben Vance, Ara Peterson and Jim Drain, James Turrell, Akiko Yamashita, and myself. I installed the Ruga Lumina and the Anemoi Light Art.

About seven hundred or more guests attended the Kaleidoscope 5. According to the event organizer, the groups of artists’ “transcendent efforts harness the complex properties of light, skillfully manipulate real and virtual space, and utilize experimental forms of materiality to produce intriguing atmospheres that provoke unique physical and emotional responses.”

Artist Akiko Yamashita posts in front of Into the Light and Folded Light Art (Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Harper Sloane Productions)
Honorees Alexandra and Sean Parker post in front of Ruga Lumina and Folded Light Art. (Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Harper Sloane Productions)

Ruga Lumina at Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Detroit, Michigan

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Ruga Lumina, 2017, Coroplast, Video Projection, Digital Sensor, Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Detroit, Michigan. Photography by Kyle Overton

Ruga Lumina, an ongoing design research project, is part of my solo show, Jiangmei Wu: Folding into Rhythm and Algorithm, that was on display From January 10, 2017, to February 10, 2017, at Detroit Center for Design + Technology in Detroit, Michigan. There was a closing on February 10, 2017. As part of the solo exhibition, I spoke at School of Architecture and Planning at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan on January 12, 2017, at 4:00 pm.

In Ruga Lumina, the latest iteration of  Ruga Interior Skin, interactive digital projection techniques are used to actively engage body-space relationship. As the viewers move in the space, their movements are captured by the Kinect Sensors and the information is translated into color changing information in the digital projections to be projected onto the translucent interior skin that is fabricated from 4 mm Coroplast sheets. A scaffolding that was made of cardboard and wooden rods was used to frame the somewhat flexible topology of the interior skin to facilitate the positioning and connecting of over seventy individual panels. Since the folding mechanism in each of the Coroplast panel is a flexible hinge joint, the edges of the interior skin are reinforced with fixed braces to give rigidity to this otherwise flexible topology.  Both flexible and rigid,  the interactive interior skin draws the connection between the body and the interior space, placing the dichotomy of permanent vs. ephemeral, solid vs. light, and materiality vs. digital fabrication at the center of the concept.

Acknowledgment: This project is supported by New Frontier of Creativity and Scholarship and Center of Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, Indiana University. The artist will also like to credit Kyle Overton for his work on interaction technology.

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Ruga Lumina 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technolgy. Photography by Kyle Overton
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Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Photography by Kyle Overton
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Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Photography by Kyle Overton
Ruga Lumina, 2017, Detroit Center for Design and Technology. Photography by ManziYang

Video of Ruga Lumina deconstruction made of still photography. Photography by Joseph Caputo

Paper Folding Workshop at College of Architecture and Design, Lawrence Technological University

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Folding a piece of paper can be simple and doesn’t require any sophisticated tools. I often tell the students who participate my workshop that paper folding can do a lot more than computer CAD modeling. Since paper folding is unstable and flexible, manipulation of the paper surface to achieve depth and volume is dynamic. The fold stores kinetic energy, which allows the folded form to contract and unfurl. It can then be balanced, connected, hinged, suspended, pulled and popped up to alternate states of disequilibrium and equilibrium. 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. 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.

About twenty students from the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University participated the workshop. The workshop was conducted in the gallery The students are from Interior Design, Architecture and other programs.

I often begin my process using a step-by-step procedure, or algorithm, first by hand only. I demonstrated this technique to the students.  They started by folding smaller pieces of square paper into simple designs, and they then repeated the same steps for a multiple of times to create repetitions of these simple designs. And finally, they worked on connecting the folded pieces to create a larger form. The students learned that small seeds can be compounded and aggregated to create something that is a lot of complex than the original simple design.

 

2017 Mathemacal Art Exhibition Awards

light_torus_night_1.jpgThe 2017 Mathematical Art Exhibition Awards were made at the Joint Mathematics Meetings last week “for aesthetically pleasing works that combine mathematics and art.” The three chosen works were selected from the exhibition of juried works in various media by 73 mathematicians and artists from around the world.

“Torus,” one of my folded light art, was awarded Best textile, sculpture, or other medium. I’m interested in how paper folding can be expressed mathematically, physically, and aesthetically. Torus is folded from one single sheet of uncut paper. Gauss’s Theorema Egregium states that the Gaussian curvature of a surface doesn’t change if one bends the surface without stretching it. Therefore, the isometric embedding from a flat square or rectangle to a torus is impossible. The famous Hévéa Torus is the first computerized visualization of Nash Problem: isometric embedding of a flat square to a torus of C1 continuity without cutting and stretching. Interestingly, the solution presented in Hévéa Torus uses the fractal hierarchy of corrugations that are similar to pleats in fabric and folds in origami. In my Torus, isometric embedding of a flat rectangle to a torus of C0 continuity is obtained by using periodic waterbomb tessellation.

The work is made of Hi-tec Kozo Paper and measures 45 x 45 x 20 cm.

Algorithemic Artistry: Washi Light Installation, Ozu Washi,Tokyo

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Exhibition poster featuring Jiangmei Wu’s Eurus at Ozu Washi in Tokyo

Collaborating with Koji Shibazaki, professor of Aichi University of Arts, and Mikako Suzuki, Japnese master in foil painting, I exhibited at the prestigious Ozu Washi gallery in Nihonbashi, Tokyo in July 2017. Ozu Washi paper store/museum has been making and selling paper since the early 17th century. Today, the store/museum is world famous for its handmade paper and vast collection paper related art and design.

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Ozu Washi Store/Museum in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Source: http://www.ozuwashi.net

The exhibition was sponsored by Aichi University of Arts. About 1300 beautiful designed postcards were printed and distributed in Nagoya and Tokyo areas. Hundreds of visitors came to the exhibition. The exhibition was truly a collaborative effort. Three large scale foil painting tapestries, measuring as big as 3′ by 7′, were made from the Washi paper that was hand-made and silver and gold foil painted in Aichi University of Arts. I also exhibited my latest folded light art collection as well as the award-winning Eurus. Special thanks to Koji Shibazaki, Mikako Suzuki and Sachiko Shibazaki. Without you, the exhibition would be impossible!!!

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1300 postcards were printed. Postcard designed by Koji Shibazaki with custom typeface
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A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki
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A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki
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Exhbition entrance
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A display at Ozu Washi
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A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sachiko Shibazaki

Upcoming Exhibition: Light Harvest

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A photograph of one of the three chains of Light Harvesting Complex. Photo courtesy of Kyle Overton

Light Harvest will be part of a group exhibit, (Re)imagining Science at Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University. It is also part of Themester 2016 exhibitions that is centered on the theme of Beauty. The show opens on Oct 14th 2016.

This project is inspired by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson’s work on form and growth and the structural biology. In 1917, Thompson first published his magnum opus “On Growth and Form,” with a second edition appeared in 1942. Thompson studied the system of forms and structures found in all species of nature. He was the first bio-mathematician who used mathematical and geometric analysis to study the myriad living forms as a product of dynamics at work at cellular and tissue level within all organisms. For Thompson, the beautiful world we live in can be understood as an ethereal palpitation of waves of energy making up all things. Thompson’s book has inspired generations of artists and designs in search of beauty found in natural structures that reach into vastness and smallness beyond our human sensory range.

Proteins are essential to all forms of life on earth. Without proteins there would be no life as we know it. Proteins are small molecular machines with unique folding structures. Their various functions rely on their proper structural architecture; this is called the structure-functional relationship. Protein structures cannot be seen with the naked eye, therefore structural biologists use X-ray Crystallography to determine the structure of proteins, which can be visualized in 3D. This allows not just analyzing the folding structure to understand a protein’s function; it also reveals the beauty of nature’s design on the atomic level.

The particular protein that is presented in Light Harvest is called Light Harvesting Complex, which is the solar sail of the photosynthesis components in plants and some micro-organisms that uses bundled sunlight and together with water to create sugar and oxygen, thus providing the basis for life on this planet. It is made of three amino acid chains with 207 amino acids in each of the chains. Computer algorithm-based program Grasshopper was used to create the scaffolding of the three-dimensional protein chain. 642 pieces of roll out patterns, of which 207 were unique, were laser-cut and etched at Noblitt Fabricating in Columbus Indiana and were hand-folded and assembled at my studio at Smith Research Center. The material is high-tec kozo, a type of Japanese-made paper that comes from renewable mulberry trees.

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Layout of three canopies of Light Harvest at Smith Research Center

Video projection mapping technologies will be used to bring the light, colors, and the interactivity to live. For the artistic meanings and the science behind Light Harvest, please come to the show on Oct 14th and make sure to check out www.foldedlightart.com for more information.

Acknowledgement: This project is supported by New Frontier of Creativity and Scholarship and the Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Project Credits: 

  • Science: Susanne Ressl (Assistant Professor, Structural Biology, Indiana University)
  • Technology: Kyle Overton (Ph.D. student, HCID, Indiana University)
  • Fabrication: Steve Dixon (Noblitt Fabricating, Columbus, Indiana)
  • Production: Siqiao Gao (Undergraduate student, Interior Design, Indiana University)

 

Gold and Silver Foil Painting with Mikako Suzuki

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Gold and silver foiling painting is a very special traditional Japanese art form. One of the masters in foil painting is Mikako Suzuki. A graduate of Aichi University of Arts, Ms Suzuki has been practicing foil painting in her studio in Nagoya for almost of a decade. I was very fortunate again to learn the technique from her during my visit to Aichi University of Arts in the summer of 2016.

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Detail of Mikako Suzuki’s gold foil painting

Before I arrived at Aichi, I designed a set of abstract and generative diagrams for the making foil prints on hand-made Washi paper. The first step of gold and silver foil painting was to use silk printing technique to print a very thin layer of Nori, or Japanese paper glue, to the Washi paper. A small amount of yellow oil paint was added to the Nori so that the original pattern would be visible after silk screen printing. The next step involved transferring a foil sheet and layering it on top of the silk screen printed sheet, a process turned out to be a lot more difficult than I imagined.

A pack of silver foil of 50 pieces usually costs over $100. Comparing to silver foils, gold foils are a lot more expensive and precious, often costing twice as much. Separating a single piece of foil sheet and picking it up without breaking or tearing it required very special tools and very soft and steady hands. Ms Suzuki uses sets of bamboo tweezers. She first burnished one of the corners of foil stack to separate sheets of the foil and then picked a single sheet up using the bamboo tweezers. She then moved gracefully and laid the foil on the top of the silk screen printed patterns. Since this process needed to be accomplished before the Nori dried, Ms Suzuki, Professor Shibazaki and I had to work simultaneously together. As we worked on the foiling, several of Shibazaki’s assistants were working on the silk screening simultaneously. Since the foil was so delicate and could break easily, I learned never to directly touch the foil using my hands. I learned to blow on the foil slightly so that the foil would stick with the Nori glue patterns.

The next day we were ready to brush off the part of the foil that were not glued to the Nori pattern. By doing this, the initial patterns with the design were revealed as the foil painting. We then pieced together hundreds of the foil painted Washi to make large tapestries to be shown at Ozu Washi gallery in Tokyo.