Cham, 08.01.2020

Origami art for the benefit of the community

On Saturday, January 4th, visitors to the vernissage of Mirei Tanaka-Lingg were able to admire her countless origami cranes while sampling Japanese plum wine and sushi. The exhibition attracted many people, and the Kunstkubus (Art Cube), a small art studio in Cham, was full to bursting. Carefully hung on fine threads, surrounded by their shadows, the small works of art really appeared to fly.

The idea for this exhibition is based on an old Japanese legend, which says that the gods grant a wish or eternal happiness to anyone who folds 1,000 cranes. This is not the first time that the artist had tackled this task. She has already created the number of birds demanded by the gods four times through her diligent folding – and always for a very specific reason.

For example, when Japan was hit by a tsunami in 2011, or when Tanaka-Lingg had to undergo surgery in 2017. In May, she decided to fold another 1,000 cranes for the Cham community in order to wish its residents a new year full of happiness and health. Tanaka-Lingg learned to fold as a child in her native Japan, and it has since become one of her great passions. “For me, folding is very relaxing. I can clear my head and relax,” says the artist.

Photo 1: Many visitors admire the delicately folded birds in the Cham Art Cube.
Photo 2: Artist Mirei Tanaka-Lingg.

The art of paper folding originated in China and was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks. As a symbol of luck and longevity, the crane is a popular motif among origami artists.

But Mirei Tanaka-Lingg likes to introduce variety, She also folds many other motifs, such as flowers and dinosaurs. In a matter of minutes, she quickly creates a small elephant from a piece of paper, astonishing her guests. A visitor to the vernissage is allowed to take it home.

The artist uses special paper for her creations, which she buys in Japan. In order for the guests of the Kunstkubus cube to enjoy the numerous folded works of art, Tanaka-Lingg has had to fold 150 birds every month since May. And this in addition to her work as an entrepreneur - she runs a coffee shop in Cham and owns a catering company. “It took a lot of discipline. But once I’ve started a project, I’m very ambitious to finish it.” But what skills are required for art folding? Fine motor skills certainly play an important role, says Tanaka-Lingg. But it also takes a lot of patience and hard work. "If you want to try to be an origami artist yourself, you can find good instructions on the Internet."

The finissage will take place on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 4 p.m.