World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 162 - Toshiko Takeuchi

Toshiko Takeuchi works with paper. She finds the material 'enchanting'. She makes sculptures in the shape of stars and birds. The structure of the work is interesting: in every folded part there is an opening in which a new part can be inserted. Recently she had an exhibition together with Ji-Min Huang in the Amsterdam WM Gallery with the title 'Wandering Light'.

I speak to both artists at their exhibition. Toshiko shows how the basic form of her work originates. She tears a page from a paperback. She folds it into a square and then halves it. From that half she makes an arrowhead and that can be pushed into another arrowhead. She uses not only paper from books, but also magazines, advertisements, copy paper and origami paper.

Paper folding

Toshiko was born and raised in Tokyo. There is a real tradition of paper folding, especially with origami paper. Children often get paper toys in the form of a fish or a crane bird. "Happiness comes to you when you get a paper crane bird." Toshiko made paper objects as a child to play with. She remembers that she could not fall asleep when she was four years old. Then her father came into her bedroom with a newspaper that he would fold until he had a whole ship. Toshiko looked breathless. "And now you will sleep well," he said to her.

And now, many years later as an adult, she has been working with paper since 2013. Now at a higher level and with a wider scope. She became acquainted with the work of other artists who were busy with paper. "I discovered an incredibly vibrant, creative and yet peaceful art world and praxis that I've been immersed in." The story of paper art is constantly evolving, she says. "A paper story is a living thing and constantly changes shape and meaning depending on the used, added and removed papers." Toshiko makes quite large 3D sculptures that tell a story and that together function as a "memory". She has no idea what it will be when she starts, but while working on it, it becomes clear what it will become.


She makes the objects both in color and black-and-white, but in the exhibition the monochrome objects prevailed because she worked closely with Ji-Min who works in a monochrome manner. The collaboration was intensive. In three / four months before the exhibition they stimulated each other to make many new works. Constantly they sent each other photos by email and then the other got new ideas for her work. She then works so concentrated that she forgets the time - and lunch. Music often plays in the background. "When I hear music, colors come to my mind.” One of her coloring works could be seen in the window of the WM Gallery.

Theater sculptures

Toshiko attended the Art Academy of Tokyo from 1968 to 1971. She did a lot of animation - drawings that are used for film or television. She drew a lot from an early age. Immediately after she had finished the Academy, she was able to draw the background for the TV series Sazaa Sarie. She had to make eight drawings every day. A lot of drawings were needed, for 1 second film 36 drawings. After her time at television, she made theater sculptures and 2D and 3D costume design for a long time, working together with her husband, the choreographer and dancer Shusaku Takeuchi, with whom she emigrated to Amsterdam in the 1970s. There he founded the Shusaku Bodytorium. For the Holland Dance Festival of 2007 they worked on a very large dance project, the Butterfly Project, which was performed in City Hall of The Hague. She made thousands of costumes, not just for this performance. "Making costumes is very precise on the one hand, but sometimes you have to go through the thick fabric with your needle."

Get on

Art is a life condition for Toshiko. "Sometimes life is difficult, if I make something, a paper work, I can handle it. Life is always related to death and I am afraid of what will come, that inevitable and essential part of life. In the days that I still live, I constantly fold paper and look for my right to exist. 'Wandering Light', the title of this exhibition with Ji-Min, encourages me to strive for vitality, and yet I often get lost, and I end up in a crisis. A transparent surface can become painful if there is both strong light and darkness at the same time. But those two can not exist without each other. But I keep going, every time. "

At the Finissage of the exhibition there was a performance by Shusaku Takeuchi with the Butterfly Dance.



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