Yumiko Matsui’s Tiny Paper Japanese Cities
Using constructing paper and glue, New York-based artist Yumiko Matsui creates the intricate and vibrant replica cities of her native Japan. If you’ve ever traveled to Japan, Matsui’s cities will look strikingly familiar, almost as if they are photographs rather than re-creations.
“The concept of my work could be expressed as ‘Feel as if you are here,’” she explains in her artist statement. Her 3-D worlds go beyond experimental project and into the realm of realism due to their ornate and accurate nature. As the roads twist and turn, there is a sense that there is life within these paper cities, the same way your childhood doll house was real with the suspension of disbelief. Everything from the colors to the minute details of writing and advertisements gives Matsui’s creations a life of their own.
Her cities are as playful, and they are beautiful. The construction paper base gives them a sense of nostalgia — as if Matsui is that girl who made the best diorama in elementary school. But beyond material, her project reminds us that all great cities and places were constructed by people and that the permanence of a place is never certain. Her cities, then, are a small study — capturing places as they are and as they might never be again. Now that she lives in New York City, these paper cities of her home in Osaka are physical memories of a place she has left behind, yet still holds onto.
Originally from Osaka, she started making paper sculptures in 2006 after studying painting with master Hajime Yoshioka. “I hope to provide small happiness and kindness to people through my art work.” She was initially noticed for her paper rendering of Coney Island, but the Japanese cities series is her latest and most fascinating project to date. By re-creating the places we know, or hope to visit one day, Matsui brings us renewed hope and love for the world.
Photos courtesy of Yumiko Matsui’s website.