with Yuko Nishikawa
Colorful Pods and Rings Made from Recycled Paper Dangle from Yuko Nishikawa’s Whimsical Mobiles
In Yuko Nishikawa’s dappled fields of color, dozens of small pods and curved rings in pale blues, greens, and pastel hues hang in dreamlike suspensions. The Brooklyn-based artist (previously) is known for her delicate mobiles made with recycled paper that she hand-dyes and shapes into wide, sloping bowls or flat hoops. Once dried, she attaches the individual pieces to thin metal armature and hangs the fanciful composition from the ceiling.
Nishikawa’s most recent mobiles augment the paper works with clear glass lenses that catch and refract the light, adding another dimension of color to the whimsical displays. “Looking up, clusters of mobiles against the black painted ceiling was like looking up the stars,” she writes of her recent solo exhibition at Kishka Gallery & Library.
At the moment, Nishikawa is involved in multiple projects, including a display at Main Window Dumbo opening in March and an installation at The Brooklyn Home Company this spring. In addition to her paper pieces, she also creates ceramic works, which will be on view at Friends Artspace in Washington, D.C., through summer. She has dozens of new mobiles available in her shop, and you can keep up with her multi-faceted practice on Instagram.
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Sprawling Paper-Pulp Mobiles by Yuko Nishikawa Suspend Whimsically Colored Pods in the Air
Hanging from the ceiling like candy-colored droplets, the paper-pulp mobiles by Yuko Nishikawa turn a stark gallery into a whimsical dreamscape. The Brooklyn-based artist fashions wide, sloping vessels and punctured rings from recycled packages, old diaries, sketches, and other waste materials, forming individual pods that attach to sprawling metal armature. Ephemeral in material and design, each piece is created with the intention that it will be unassembled and reverted back to its muddled form for resculpting.
With a background in ceramics, Nishikawa switched to paper last year because it’s lightweight, doesn’t require firing in electricity-dependent kilns, and is more durable once dry. The pastels and subtle hues she gravitates toward are inspired by the natural pigments of wool yarn, although she likens her process to mixing paints, saying:
I blended blue paper pulp and red paper pulp, and a bit of yellow paper pulp to make a muted purple paper clay. I combined them at their different blended stages, too ,to make varying textures and color effects. Mushy pulps would make homogeneous colors, while crumbly pulps would have a stippled effect. Finely blended pulps would become a smoother surface when dry, while coarser pulps would become bumpier like oatmeal cookies.
Designed as an invitation to imagine new ways of finding joy, Nishikawa’s works all derive from the idea of piku piku, “a Japanese onomatopoeia that describes involuntary movements caused by unexpected contact,” she writes. “I want my work to make you feel piku piku, tickling something deep down inside you.”
This fall, Nishikawa will open a solo show at Kishka Gallery & Library in White River Junction, Vermont, and will also have work at Main Window Dumbo. Some of her mobiles are currently available through Room68, where she’ll present a new collection later this year. Until then, see more of her pieces and works-in-progress on Instagram.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.