Brooklyn-based artist and sculptor Yuko Nishikawa creates fantastical, dream-like environments with her colorful and texturally lively forms and shapes. With a hands-on and exploratory approach, Nishikawa uses the mediums of painting, lighting, and sculpturing, in which she explores various techniques and repurposed materials, including recycled paper. With a background in interior and furniture design, Nishikawa has a unique understanding and viewpoint on exploring space as well as the vast range of handcrafting techniques from Murano glass to ceramics and more. Her latest work, the Memory Functions series is an immersive, site and time-specific installations that are built of dozens upon dozens of hand-molded paper pods and rings.
The lightweight mobiles made up of dozens of dangling colorful pods and rings forms a whimsical cloud of memories of past, present, and in the making
Memory Functions is a two-layered installation with contrasting groups of paper-pulp mobiles anchored by a linear passage. Made with 100% repurposed waste paper, the artwork emphasizes its materiality. “The deep colors are the colors of the paper I processed and the textural surfaces are unique to this recycling process. This installation is the expression of nourishing a new phase in life and a hopeful beginning”, Nishikawa writes.
The dappled fields of pale blue, greens, and pastel hues create contrast and dimension that feels whimsical and familiar at once. With each little dot or pod representing a memory from the past or one in the making, the lightweight mobiles move and interact in harmony with the moving air around them when you walk through the space, creating an experience of belonging and togetherness.
The colors come directly from the colors of the donated paper, there are no added paints or pigments. To produce additional colors, I mix multiple papers the way I would mix paints.
The mobiles are made with paper pulp clay Nishikawa formulates from used paper collected from artists and photographers from her studio building in Brooklyn. “The rich colors and the oatmeal-cookie-like textures are particular to the process I use to make this air-dry clay. The colors come directly from the colors of the donated paper, there are no added paints or pigments. To produce additional colors, I mix multiple papers the way I would mix paints”, Nishikawa writes.
Explore the works below, and follow the artist on Instagram for more inspiration. And if happen to be in the San Francisco area, you can see Nishikawa’s mobile installation live at the Paper Show exhibition at the Heron Arts Gallery (Opening July 9th).