“Origami Universe”, a comprehensive origami exhibit opens at the ChiMei Museum in Taiwan.
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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.


JoJo Wang and Fleming Dong, staff photographer, review the catalog of “Surface to Structure”, an exhibit curated by Uyen Nguyen

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.




Uyen Nguyen at the opening of “Origami Universe”.

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.


Floor plan of “Origami Universe”


Fleming Dong photographs Giang Dinh’s “Birth of a Tai Chi Master” for the catalog.


Hoang Tien Quyet arrived from Vietnam to help wet-fold moths that Michael LaFosse designed for an installation at the entrance.


Signage and moths showing color change and the concept of one piece of paper transformed only by folding at the exhibit entrance.



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.


Crowds waiting to get into the Chi Mei Museum on opening day of “Origami Universe”.



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.


Susanne Tilney admires an exhibit by the members of the Taiwanese Origami Association at the exhibit entrance.



A visitor admires masks in the “Folding Ourselves” part of representational origami.


Three musicians by Eric Joisel loaned specially for this exhibit by his family.

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Some views of “Natural World”, the second part of representational origami.




Geometric section of “Origami Universe”.


Sculptures by Jun Mitani.



Works by Bryriah Loper and Erik and Martin Demaine.






Fashion by Yung Wong.

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Vogel fashion with origami models for the skirts behind on the wall, and Tom Crain’s  boxes.


The applications section features exhibits from Larry Howell and his students at Brigham Young University.  A video of the foldscope from the Manu Prakash lab at Stanford University plays on the back wall.


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.


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