Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fleeting Life

[Added 2011. Visitors from theequinest: Roman Diaz sent in these fantastic horses for the Tikotin exhibit, with sequence numbers stuck in each; I arranged them as best I could, chose the name "Wild Horses" for the whole installation, and took the photograph. Diagrams for Roman's Horse are in his book "Origami for Interpreters". I dabble in this theme too, and you might like my Equestrians,  other origami horses (scroll to bottom), or these Horse Heads.] Diagrams for my Horse may be found in my book, "Sculptural Origami".]

At the very last minute that it was possible before the Tikotin opening, Herman Mariano handed me this fine “Kiwi”, designed by Roman Diaz, that he had finished the night before. --At 81, Mariano shows no signs of slowing down. For this Kiwi he used a coloration technique that is new to him: applying dry pastel to the flat sheet, muffing it around with cotton then spraying on fixatif. (Paul Jackson has already been doing this for several decades: as far as I can tell from looking at his things, Jackson applies one or two pastel colors to a reflattened sheet AFTER precreases have been made so that fold lines will pick up extra color). –Pastel is about the only application that can actually augment the ashy dry paperiness of paper while coloring it, keeping surfaces lively, fragile and translucent: all other color treatments tend to make a sheet seem heavier, shinier or more opaque. More, in fact, like the traditional deadening materials of metal, wood or stone.

An odd, possibly unintended consequence of that treatment here is that the beak of this Kiwi looks a little like bone, more so than keratin (which is in fact denser and shinier than bone). Now, we already know that Diaz has studied the difference between representing animal bones in origami and representing animal flesh: there’s his humorous (why?) "Cow’s Skull", which is unmistakably skeletal rather than fleshy; and in his recent "Wild Horses", something was done to the shape of the heads that makes them look vaguely bonelike, as an animal straining to run slightly does—pushing or pulling against death. Somehow or other this effect has transposed itself onto this innocent Kiwi, half-living, half-already-extinct-fossil, in this interpretation of Diaz by Mariano.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Recovering slowly from the opening of the Tikotin show... According to the Museum’s final count, 594 people packed themselves into the exhibition halls in the two hours of the opening on mid-day Friday; I’m told they haven’t seen such crowds in many years.

All of this initial success can be credited neither to the quality of the show (which no one knew about beforehand) nor to the publicity (which was pretty slight). Rather there must be a great pent-up curiosity in the public about origami. Now however that the exhibit's been seen I expect the numbers only to climb as word of mouth spreads.

The dignitaries came too, of course, and warmly congratulated each other. I was moved however to hear Tikotin's daughter Ilana tell about that funny little man, Yoshizawa, who would come to their home in Japan, and who would never stop folding.

The night before the opening I went round & counted how many discrete objects there were (a herd of horses counts as six objects, a work of modular origami as one). My total came to 162. The number of “installations” or “sensible groupings” (a herd is one object, a pair of birds another)--which is more subjective--varies between 60 and 100.

Here is a very modest sampling. Click on the images for a higher-res view.


"Treasures of Origami Art", works by 25 world-leading origami artists, showing now through the end of the year at the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art, 89 Hanassi Avenue, Haifa, Israel. Please call the Museum for hours: 04-838-3554.

Robert Lang's Cervids

Linda Mihara's Connected Crane Quilt

Yoshizawa main table

Yoshizawa Swan family

Top: Giang Dinh's fine wet-folded series, "The Dance". Below it is Yoshizawa's Elephant, one of the works that was in the original 1955 Amsterdam exhibit arranged with the help of Felix Tikotin.

Ron Koh Goldfish

Tomoko Fuse Tessellations

Fuse Modulars folded by Fuse acolyte Rosana Shapiro

Ray Schamp's "Corrugations" wall

Tomohiro Tachi's Teapot

A tessellations table (one of three featuring Eric Gjerde, Christine Edison, Christiane Bettens and Joel Cooper)

Old Goat

LaFosse Butterfly

Some things of my own

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tikotin Exhibit--first images

I've been enormously busy with this show, the opening is the day after tomorrow... But I have to say it looks magnificent. Here are just a few "teaser shots". --More to come


Exterior with "cranes"

Main display case--Elephant at center is Yoshizawa's

Joel Cooper's "Cyrus"

Y penguins from the 1930s

Roman Diaz' "Wild Horses"

View of Haifa Bay from promenade back of Museum