Creativity defined by a maze of folded paper

Creativity defined by a maze of folded paper

Unusual Designs

The Japanese art of folding paper into shapes, to represent objects, is popularly known as ‘origami’.

It is common to see creative people folding coloured paper to create different shapes.
 But it is rare to find an artist who combines the art of origami with the study of architecture. Ankon Mitra is one of these to have used his knowledge in landscape designs and architect to fold coloured papers in interesting patterns.

In his recent exhibition ‘The Folded Garden’ at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, the professional architect took to the task of showcasing different concepts of design through origami. Inspired by the landscape traditions of India, Mitra interpreted his experiences in works that appear abstract on the face of it.

 A closer look at these art installations and one can observe the images of fruits, trees, flowers, fountains and other objects. These have been put to form with the help of diverse mediums such as metals, plastics and fabric, including shimmery handmade paper.

Curated by Uma Nair, the exhibition starts exploring the subject of four elements – water, fire, earth and air. Four panels displaying the installation ‘The Cosmic Garden Quadriptych’ which represents the making of ‘Gaia’ - the coming together of four diverse, yet complementary elements to create the cosmic garden. Folded in different shapes and with different complexities, the papers are used as a means to describe different concepts such as in his work titled ‘The Zigzag Lotus Mandala’.
The architect presents various grids painted with oil colours. Shapes reflecting flowers are fixed on these mandalas that embody positive energies. Even the use of paper and buckram under-structure with zari-cotton fabric in the artwork titled ‘The Navagraha Lotus Mandala (A Lotus Pond of 9 Celestial Bodies)’ arrests a viewer’s attention. The striking green and yellow colour combinations in the artwork ‘Inside Out Forbidden Fruits (in the Garden of Eden)’ make a viewer look deeper. The four yellow and singular red inside-out fruits together depict our five sense organs while the yellow fragments depict our senses of smell, touch, taste and hearing. The red fragment (the most potent and abused) is the sense of sight. 

Even ‘Jodhabai’s  Courtyard of 18 Fountains’ proves the artist’s accomplished skill in architecture and art of folding paper. The gold and aluminium paints on board fixed in 18 squares of aluminium foil and buckram composite, hand-creased and folded are encased inside a wooden frame with glass front. 

Mitra’s aesthetic sense must be judged through his work ‘Dune Dance’ where he paints gold on board and uses origami tessellations ( careful juxtaposition of shapes in a pattern) made out of gold foil cards to show the movement of sand dunes. 

But the centrepieces and USP of this exhibition are ‘The Hexagonal Sun and Eclipse’ (with light sensors that work when approached by a human body) and ‘The Grid Garden’. The latter is a kaleidoscopic garden, like a rainbow maze, comprising 25 cubes - made using the technique of mathematicians Simon, Arnstein and Gurkewitz. Every visitor stopped around this grid garden to soak in the vibrancy of coloured papers when folded and placed together as cubes.