Ruga Swan at “Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami”

My large scale folded art work, Ruga Swan, has been selected as part of a traveling national exhibition entitled Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami (http://www.artsandartists.org/exhibitions-abovethefold.php). This exhibition also includes works by eight other well-known international artists and best-known names in the world of paper folding or origami, including Erik Demain and Martin Demaine (both from MIT), Vicent Floderer (France), Paul Jackson (UK/Israel), Robert Lang, Yuko Nishimura (Japan), Richard Sweeney (UK) and Miri Golan (Israel). The exhibition is organized by a highly reputable international nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. and is curated by Meher McArthur, the former curator of East Asian Art at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California.

The exhibition opened its first venue at the Springfield Museum in Springfield Massachusetts on January 20, 2015 (see the attached photos). The exhibition has been lauded as “a ground-breaking exhibition of sculptures and large-scale origami installations by nine visionary master folders from around the world” (http://www.springfieldmuseums.org/) and the initial response of the exhibitions has been very positive.

IMG_3730
Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
Ruga Swan at the Springfield Museum of Fine Art, Springfield, MA
Ruga Swan at the Springfield Museum of Fine Art, Springfield, MA
Installed view at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
Installed view at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA
Installed view at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts
Installed view at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts
The museum staff carefully opened the crate that contained Ruga Swan
The museum staff carefully opened the crate that contained Ruga Swan
The museum staff worked together carrying Ruga Swan to the gallery
The museum staff worked together carrying Ruga Swan to the gallery
Ruga Swan during the installation
Ruga Swan during the installation

The exhibition opened its second venue at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens in Norfolk Virginia. Hermitage Museum and Gardens is a historic arts and crafts house and it provided an unique setting for Ruga Swan. Because of the scale of my work, the installation proved to be very challenging.

Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Norfolk, VA
Hermitage Museum and Gardens, Norfolk, VA
Ruga Swan at Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, VA
Ruga Swan at Hermitage Museum, Norfolk, VA
Installed view at Hermitage Musuem
Installed view at Hermitage Musuem
Installation at Hermitage Museum
Installation at Hermitage Museum

The exhibition will then travel to five other museums in the next three years, including the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences in Charleston West Virginia, the Longmont Museum & Cultural Center in Longmont Colorado, the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles California, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach Florida and the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown Pennsylvania.

Concept

Ruga Swan is a part of my creative research on a new type of semi-structure and flexible interior skin, and it is also a conceptual piece in which I’m trying to understand how folding and patterning can be expressed mathematically, physically, and aesthetically; how it can be done using novel fabrication and construction techniques, and how these aspects work together with the conceptual spaces in which they occur.

“Ruga” is a Latin word for making winkles, creases, and folds, and the word has been recently used by material scientists to describe the various physical qualities of these various folded states. Ruga Swan is inspired by the use of folding to create complex topological forms from flat thin sheet materials with simple and low cost tools. Folded forms have inherently rigid properties and at the same time are flexible. There are many examples of folding-inspired design in architecture; however, folded architectural structures rarely make use of one of the main characteristic of folding design – the kinetic ability to morph from a two dimensional surface to a three-dimensional surface. The Ruga Swan project seeks to construct a deployable three dimensional semi-rigid structure that comes from fabricating two dimensional materials, such as corrugated cardboard, and can be collapsed into, again, smaller compressed forms. Hundreds of cardboard pieces were laser-cut by Noblitt Fabricating in Columbus, Indiana. (Noblitt Fabricating has generously supported this project by allowing me to pay for the cost of the laser cutting through an exchange of my Folded Light Art sculptures. See some examples at www.foldedlightart.com.)

Touring Schedule

Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
January 20, 2015 – April 24, 2015

Hermitage Museum & Gardens, Norfolk, VA
May 2, 2015 – July 26, 2015

Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences, Charleston, WV
September, 2015 – November 2015, Dates TBD

Longmont Museum & Cultural Center, Longmont, CO
February 12, 2016 – May 1, 2016

Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA
May 28, 2016 – August 21, 2016

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, FL
October 11, 2016 – January 29, 2017

Allentown Art Museum, PA
March 3, 2017 – May 26, 2017

Special thanks to Noblitt Fabricating, Curt Aton, Steve Dixon, Joseph Su, Renzi Huang, Daniel Green, Ron Day, Dexter Wu, Seiya Liu and Jianhuan Ruan.

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