Washi Tales: The Paper Art of Ibe Kyoko

Pavilion for Japanese Art, Level 3
September 1, 2011–November 29, 2011

Time, texture and light are the tools of contemporary washi artist Ibe Kyoko, who takes this millennium-and-a-half old art form and updates it. Ibe incorporates fragments of historical texts, evoking the intertwined stories of past and present. Her handmade paper, which may be either dense and opaque or soft and light enough to move in the slightest breeze, is made from fibers from the inner bark of paper mulberry (kōzō), paper bush (mitsumata), and the highest quality fiber, wild ganpi. The scale, substance,  and content of Ibe’s work distinguish her paper sculptures and wall pieces as exceptional examples of fine art papermaking.

Image: Ibe Kyoko, Japan, Born 1941, Hogosho 08-2, washi (Japanese handmade paper), 175 cm x 400 cm, Collection of the artist, photo by Ibe Kyoko.

Messages from a Fragile World: Washi Tales

A piece of the world was wiped away on March 11 of this year. In the northeastern area of Honshu, the main island of Japan, what is left to us after earthquake and tsunami is bits of lives that were. For the last ten years, the washi (Japanese paper) artist Ibe Kyoko has incorporated bits of former lives in the form of torn pieces of letters and documents into her works of art...