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Cutting paper

Artist Cuts a Meditative Fortress of Paper Strips


With exquisite aesthetics, this performance unites psychic therapy and manual art to create a unique meditative sentiment.

Having discovered the calming effects of cutting paper while she was living in a psychiatric ward for more than fifteen years, Japanese artist Sachiko Abe cuts paper strips for hours on end for her performance called Cut Papers.

With this, Abe explores the meditative and artistic properties of the act. Her most recent presentation of the series was Cut Papers #13 in the eighteenth Biennial of Sydney. Nearly burrying herself in a mountain of delicate strips of papers, she explains:

The act of cutting is a constant exercise through which I organize and structure my random thoughts. The rhythm of the scissors, the fineness and the length of the paper strip correspond to the process of my thinking, and its effect to the body. While essentially personal, Cut Papers is a necessary practice for me to formulate my relationship to the external world.


Her work is a sort of feverish dream or therapeutic meditation (compared perhaps to the therapy of sewing or washing dishes), and yet at the same time her work alludes to a more lyrical, swirling and infinite white aesthetics:

The act defines and redefines the boundary between the self and the other, and helps to recover a meaningful relationship with one another. Complete silence and neutral white space allow the audience to focus purely on the sound of scissors and slight movement of the cut papers. The closed environment also invites the viewer to synchronize with the tide of emotion and contemplation created by the performance.

The healing nature of these acts even extends to the audience and pulls him/her back into the interminable paper-castle for refuge and calmness.

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