Asia’s ancient origami gains following in West

Asia’s ancient origami gains following in West

NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Asia’s ancient origami gains following in West

Origami made from dollar bills and a Bascetta Star (R) are at the convention. AFP photo

Hundreds gathered in New York over the weekend for a convention celebrating origami, the ancient Asian art of paper folding, as the craft gains increasing recognition as serious art in the West.

Animals, shapes, landscapes and spaceships constructed with astonishing intricacy were on display at OrigamiUSA, all fashioned entirely from uncut paper squares and without a drop of glue.

“We say the universe is flat and is contained in a square piece of paper. With paper you can do everything: the limit is the imagination,” explained Jorge Pardo, a self-taught origami artist.

Pardo, a special guest at the convention, is the director of the Zaragoza School Origami Museum, which will open in December in northern Spain, where the West’s oldest origami association was founded six decades ago. It will be Europe’s first museum dedicated to the art.A recent test run with temporary exhibits boasted 60,000 visitors over three months, said Pardo.

Permanent exhibition spaces

The museum plans to feature works by current masters including Satoshi Kamiya of Japan, Robert Lang and Bernie Payton of the United States, and Dinh Giang of Vietnam, many of whose works were on display in New York.

Laura Rozenberg, a member of OrigamiUSA and publisher of “The Paper” magazine dedicated to the art, said the museum represents a major step in the trend towards creating “permanent exhibition spaces for the critical mass of exceptional work” that has accumulated.

Origami, a term which comes from the Japanese words “ori” (folding) and “gami” (paper), has a home in Tokyo’s House of Origami museum. But in the West, until now, exhibits have been temporary. In addition to the upcoming Spanish museum, Rozenberg, an Argentine who has lived in the U.S. for 15 years, is helping build an origami museum in Uruguay, slated to open in 2014.