Noriko Ambe is a longtime Japanese transplant in the New York creative scene, who hand-slices thousands of paper sheets into remarkable sculptures. Ambe is exhibiting a new body of work at her solo show “Continuous Cutting Altered Daily” at the newly established Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo’s Shibuya district.
Born in Saitama in 1967, Ambe began her paper-cut sculptures in 1999 in her New York studio. Her work now belongs to the MoMA and Whitney Museum of American Art collections. Ambe is an artist fascinated with the textural nuances and physicality offered by the medium of paper sculpture. Spoon & Tamago visited her NY studio in 2012!
The gallery’s press release expands upon Ambe’s artistic practice, musing about her process and the way the stacked layers of paper seem to create a landscape in miniature:
As hundreds of fragments—each only a thin piece of paper—build up layer after layer… resonating with time or generating a series of variations to create a landscape that seems like a part of the earth seen from the sky above.
In addition to her signature paper-cut sculptures, the exhibition showcases three new pieces in her book series that dialogue with themes of surprise encounters, and cultural tension between Islamic and non-Islamic nations, and creative censorship.
According to Ambe, her creative intent with the cutting project lies largely with “mapping the mysterious land between physical and emotional geography,” in other words, Ambe is interested in playing the role of the cartographer; a person who maps out existing landscapes in order to give life to a new geography. For Ambe, paper mediates this sliced exploration of new worlds and new potential- books are no longer for reading, but instead, for cutting into and unveiling the pages ahead.