Sharing space and time and experiential connection are at the core of the Summer 2020 issue of Hand Papermaking magazine, in which we look at ways artists have mobilized paper in performance. The physical, aesthetic, and working properties of paper have been explored in costume and stage design, sound pieces, and kinetic artwork, both in live performance and as a document of private performance. We also examine the performative nature of the act of papermaking and the choreography inherent in the process.
Midori Yoshimoto starts off the issue by introducing us to the work of Japanese artist Shiraga Fujiko (1928–2015), an early member of Gutai, the Japanese avant-garde, performance-based collective, active in the 1950s.
Elise Thoron shares her conversation with Japanese paper artist Kyoko Ibe who first incorporated paper in performance work in the early 1980s, finding that “theater is the ideal place to show the beauty and variety of washi.”
Hannah Turpin writes about Fluxus performance in Alison Knowles’s handmade-paper sound sculptures, costumes, and instruments.
Winifred Lutz worked with our wonderful designer Karen Kopacz to ‘re-stage’ (with coda) a photo story publication of Light Cycle, a performance project Lutz produced in Anchorage, Alaska in 1986.
In Lucy Kay Riley’s article about Lesley Dill’s extensive use of paper costumes in performance-based pieces, Riley argues, “live performances activate the work, bringing the paper alive again, and give the audience the opportunity to hear and see how it moves on the body; we can imagine more clearly what it feels like to wear it, and what it would feel like to be the one to tear it apart.”
Beatrix Mapalagama contributes a profile of Tone Fink, a prolific and well-regarded Austrian artist who uses paper costumes, masks, and objects in his performance pieces and installations.
Michelle Samour maintains that the process of making paper is by its very nature performative, in the ways papermakers use their bodies to transform pulp into paper, and the synchronized movements that are required when more than one are at the vat.
Artist and papermaker Peter Sowiski contributes a paper sample that demonstrates the use of one of his whole-body-action, DIY, pulp-painting tools.
Karen Trask reviews Sarah Bertrand-Hamel’s new permanent installation of drawings and paperworks at the Pierrefonds Public Library in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; and Lisa Cirando gives us her take on “Paper Borders,” a recent exhibition of paperworks by Emma Nishimura and Tahir Carl Karmali, presented at the International Print Center New York.