On October 4th, 2016, “Origami Universe”, one of the largest origami exhibits anywhere opened at the ChiMei Museum in Tainan, Taiwan. The exhibit featured nearly 400 works from 63 artists, scientists, engineers, and designers from 21 countries. It occupied over 1400 square meters of space (14000 square feet) in the special exhibit galleries at the front entrance of the ChiMei.
More than 1900 people saw “Origami Universe” on Saturday October 8th, a record attendance for a special exhibit at the ChiMei. The record was shattered the following day when more than 2600 people showed up. In the first 18 days, 12951 visitors have seen the exhibit. It is too early to tell if the popularity of the exhibit will continue until it closes on May 30, 2017. However, I am confident it will change the public’s perception of origami, and encourage many of them to fold for fun and for developing useful products.
The exhibit was assembled in just three months. Credit for that was largely due to JoJo Wang, the head of the ChiMei’s exhibition department and her exhibition team. She had the full support of the ChiMei Foundation and its Board of Directors, some of whom I had met during trips made to pitch the exhibit in the previous two years.
I was blessed to share the curatorship of “Origami Universe” with Uyen Nguyen, the capable curator of “Surface to Structure”, the second major show of origami in New York since 1955. I had help from Saadya Sternberg who co-curated the artists with me for a previous exhibit of mostly nature-themed origami at the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan. The more comprehensive exhibit at the ChiMei Museum included geometric origami as well as applications of folding in fashion and design. This was Uyen’s expertise. She also greatly improved my section of the exhibit with artists whose works were inspired by humor and fantasy. Here in pictures is some of how this exhibit evolved.
Susanne Tilney spray paints a manakin for Ilan Garibi’s jewelry display.
Sunway Express employees install a solar panel model for satellites while volunteers of the museum admire the decorations hung in the Resource Room.
Joao Charrua’s “Shell Man” in a hole in the wall in the Fantasy section.
Invitation to the opening of “Origami Universe” designed by Ginger Li.
Charles Tsai waits for the exhibit to open by the official entrance under a folded tunnel while Hoang Tien Quyet teaches participants how to fold his cat hat behind Charles.
Vogel fashion with origami models for the skirts behind on the wall, and Tom Crain’s boxes.
The most packed space with people was the resource room. Given the permission to have fun, scores of people of all ages were trying their hand at folding and browsing books, assisted by a dozen volunteers in red aprons. Wives were overheard admonishing their husbands to fold with their children. Of all the areas JoJo and her team put together, this was the most brilliant. Fifteen minutes in this one room was enough thanks to me for being part of this team. I hated to leave it.
This entry was posted on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 at 11:57 pm
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