Ayumi Shibata’s Paper Art is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen

Japanese artist Ayumi Shibata creates mesmerizing paper art enclosed in glass vessels. Her artworks include enchanted forests and entire cities illuminated inside a bell jar and life-size installations, made entirely out of paper.

Inspired by nature, her art is what one imagines a fairytale landscape would look like. “I like to watch the lectures about theoretical physics and cosmology, I imagine myself traveling in another dimension or world,” Shibata shared with ModeArte, talking about her sources of inspiration. “As I cut out each page by page, I create the multiple dimensions in my work.”

According to Shibata, paper has personality, just like humans. “I communicate with it,” she says. “It is important for me to understand the personality of each piece of paper. For example, the way the light affects it, the effects of the darkness, the thickness, the strength, how the humidity interacts with it, and what is it made of. I choose the paper for each project by considering its personality.”

Using traditional methods of Japanese paper cutting, she hopes to bring attention to the delicate relationship we as humans have with our environment and promote a discussion about how we relate and care for the world we were given.

According to her, “scale and proportion are important to the viewers’ relationship and viewing experience.” While large works of art invite the viewer to be swallowed by the visual world they are engaging with, small artworks keep the viewer in the position of an outside observer. “We observe small works as if looking through a keyhole into another world; constantly aware of our outsider status,” she says.

Peep through the keyhole: