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Kyoko Hazama

Morikami Museum of Art and Gardens - Delray Beach

By Suzanne Cohen

Morikami Museum this summer is presenting an exhibition of Kyoko Hazama’s work. Hazama is perhaps one of Japan’s most talented doll paper sculptresses. She uses a traditional paper (washi) made from the fibers of the bark of gampi (a Japanese tree), plus various plants and grasses such as hemp, rice, bamboo and wheat. The result is a paper more vigorous than those crafted from wood pulp. She uses it to create dioramas that represent self-portraits, depicting herself as a character who navigates the boundaries between childhood and adolescence. These scenes reveal a magical playground in which she interacts with a collection of characters, perhaps allegorical representations of both real people that she has met in her life and how she conceives human relationships.

Kyoko Hazama, Communication Pocket, 2011, washi paper, wire, cotton thread. Private Collection.

Kyoko Hazama, Communication Pocket, 2011, washi paper, wire, cotton thread. Private Collection.

This selection of sculptures evidences her ability to manipulate the materials to obtain the look and textures of animal fur, different kind of fabrics and human skin. Hazama defies artistic classifications, as her work cannot be constrained within the limits of craft or defined as outsider art or folk art. Susan Brooks, curator of Japanese art at Morikami Museum, says, “The remarkable work of Kyoko Hazama overflows, albeit quietly, with self-expression and great technical skill, underscoring her place as an artist of our time, an era in which the lines of categorization are being continually challenged and blurred.” Through Aug. 31.

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