Japanese artist Mr. Riu takes paper cutting to an intricate extreme, crafting mandalas and elaborate figures with a precision work tool called the swivel knife. This tool allows him to cut curves more fluidly, as the head of the knife can turn 360 degrees. With this movement, Riu produces asymmetrical imagery that is often filled with hidden details—winged horses that sprout from points in a star and snakes that wrap themselves around the eyes of his figural works.
Riu’s captions for his Instagram images are often inspirational and speak to the dedication and patience he has developed during his paper cutting practice. “It’s not that I can do it because I originally have a great patience,” says Riu in one of his captions, “I think that my patience grows stronger gradually because I want to do it.”
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Japanese artist Tomoko Shioyasu was born in Osaka in 1981 and majored in sculpture at the Kyoto City University of Arts. Her immense floor-to-ceiling tapestries are meticulously cut by hand from enormous sheets of paper using utility knives and soldering irons. Her work evokes some of nature’s most complex creations: the organic patterns of cells, the flow of water, and the forces of wind. How these are hung without tearing seems nearly impossible.
Her latest work, “Vortex” (first two images) is currently on display as part of the show Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Japanese Art at Japan Society in New York which opened today and runs through June 12. 50% of all proceeds from ticket sales to Japan Society programming including this show are being donated to relief efforts in Japan right now. Here’s a quick video about it:
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