Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: Wataru Itou's Papercraft

For me, there is something inherently magical about miniature houses.  I think it's the combination of the suggestion that a tiny, supernatural creature could live in it, along with the amazing skill that it takes to create these works of art.

Today's featured artist is Wataru Itou from Japan--the first work of his that I saw was this fantastic papercraft castle:

Apparently, this castle not only is lighted, but also has a moving train!  It was displayed several years ago at an exhibition called Umi no Ue no Oshiro (A Castle on the Ocean); you can read more about the exhibition in English here.

While this castle might seem to be enough for any one lifetime, Itou has kept working.  A more recent piece is this installation in Tokyo's Marunouchi Building, complete with a working cable car!  One of the most intriguing thing about this piece is the use of natural wood as the supporting framework for the buildings--the contrast between the rough grain of the wood and the smooth white finish of the buildings is very visually arresting.

One can just imagine tiny fairies waltzing in the courtyard of Itou's castle, or tiny wood sprites peeking out of the windows of the second piece.  Fantastic work indeed.