The sculptural work of NAHOKO KOJIMA
Artisans from many countries, over many centuries, have incorporated the craft of paper cutting into their cultures. From as early as China in the 6th century and India, Japan, and Mexico, among other countries, the art of cutting into paper has enjoyed a long decorative history. Early on, up through today, craftsmen and woman have produced cuttings as simple, decorative items for display or to commemorate important events.
When age-old crafts, such as paper cutting, crocheting or quilting are set free of function, they are transformed into meaningful and powerful works of art. Such is the work of Nahoko Kojima.
Ms. Kojima, born in Japan in 1981, began training her artist’s eye via drawing. From as early as childhood, she began to explore natural forms found in her surroundings; leaves and flowers - usually studied from the underside, as the young artist drew these forms from underneath. Source and action united as the artist found equanimity – lifting her into an inspired state. According to Ms. Kojima, “…I think when we discover a hidden beauty, we leave our bodies and look on ourselves, the object and environment, all as one lovely epiphany.” Most artists would attest to this state as they move from the mundane world of form, into another world where time seems to stop.
Each work is unique. The artist prefers not to duplicate or recreate the past as she cuts into paper with the tools and preciseness of a surgeon; intensely concentrating, so as not to make even the slightest error. There is no turning back.
From an article, written by Karen Wright for The Independent (July 19, 2013): “Kojima’s practice is labor-intensive in the extreme, and demands tremendous concentration; if she makes a mistake there is no way to repair it. She uses scalpel blades that are half the thickness of normal blades and replaced every three minutes.”
Movement is crucial issue in Ms. Kojima’s work. Animals appear, almost as if in flight, their limbs and fur cast into the air – into space. We might ask if they are in flight from a predator (human, most likely) or in pursuit of the next meal. Nothing is static in the artist’s world. A whirling dervish of fluttering shards of paper in perpetual movement is part and parcel of the work.
Ms. Kojima, originally from Hyogo, Japan, graduated with a degree in Design from Kuwasawa Institute. She lives and works in London and her sculpture has been exhibited at Exposure Gallery (London) and the Saatchi Gallery (London), among other venues. She was awarded (2013) the Jerwood Makers Open commission, proposing and creating the life-sized Polar Bear sculpture, titled, Byaku (meaning, ‘white’ in Japanese - as seen in the first 4 photographs, above).
For more information about Nahoko Kojima, please visit the following sites: