Feature: Bringing More than Taiwan Paper Art to the Louvre

Feature: Bringing More than Taiwan Paper Art to the Louvre
Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fu

What you need to know

Taiwanese paper artist Hung Hsin-fu mixes art and education, science and mathematics to create a truly memorable experience.

Taiwanese paper artist Hung Hsin-fu (洪新富) was invited to this year’s D’Days Festival at the Louvre in France to present his art at the Taiwan Unfolding exhibition, a major paper art showcase in the event.

Hung, who has spent more than 30 years creating and promoting paper art, sat down with The News Lens International to share his 20 years' experience exhibiting overseas and promoting education through art.

The artist’s first exhibition abroad was in Belgium in 1992. His art has been displayed in multiple countries since, including Hungary and Russia.

Despite having been to many countries, Hung says he never thought that his work would be showcased at the Louvre, adding that the invitation to exhibit at the D’Days Festival was a very encouraging gesture.

Hung spent three months preparing over a hundred pieces to showcase at D’Days, and flew to France last week to assemble all the work himself for the exhibition.

The artist’s time and hard work paid off.

Hung says he was impressed with both the curator and audience during the preparation process and the exhibition.

The curator respected Hung’s decision to go for an all-white exhibition to better present the purity and simplicity of his designs, and arranged the space to exactly match his ideas. For the artist, the overall design and presentation of his works at D’Days was “a dream come true.”

Hung also asked to hold a free paper art workshop and interaction session during the festival. The activities were aimed at showing that Taiwan paper art is not just about techniques.

“I want to do something more for Taiwan, so I told the audience stories and values of the island through interaction with paper art,” says Hung.

The activities also offered Hung a chance to learn more about the French audience. He said the people who attended the exhibition were culturally sensitive and were very interested in the stories and spirit behind his work.

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Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fu
Hung Hsin-fu's work on display at the Louvre.
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Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fu
Hung Hsin-fu's work on display at the Louvre.
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Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fuPhoto Credit: Hung Hsin-fu
Hung Hsin-fu's work on display at the Louvre.
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Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fu.
Audience at Hung Hsin-fu's exhibition at the Louvre.
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Photo Credit: Hung Hsin-fu
Hung Hsin-fu's workshop during D'Days.

Dedicated to education

Holding a workshop to teach and promote paper art with a live audience was also a testament to Hung’s belief in combining education with art.

The artist considers himself both an artist and educator. He hopes his works can teach people different values and knowledge.

“A good cultural product holds social responsibility,” says Hung. “It is not just about making money.”

To further develop his concept of education, Hung also incorporates scientific and mathematical elements into his work.

“Science and art are inseparable,” says Hung. “As an educator, what I can do is try to make complicated concepts as simple as possible.”

Ever since he started creating pop-up cards more than 30 years ago, Hung has been striving to come up with the most simple way of teaching. He has discovered the most precise language is not words, but numbers.

“I have turned my research over the years into equations,” says Hung.

He believes the combination of model structures and math makes it easier for children to learn. The artist is also planning a pop-up math textbook that incorporates these ideas.

Future challenges and opportunities

In addition to promoting education through his paper art, Hung also holds workshops all over Taiwan to pass on his techniques.

“If you want to make a lot of money, then go into finance or architecture, but stay out of the cultural industry,” says Hung. “Once you get your foot in, there’s no out. It’s so hard, but you will gain a sense of accomplishment because you can have so much interaction with the world.”

Like other paper artists in Taiwan, Hung has also worked with animation producers, using his works as animation material, and looks forward to further collaborations in future.

He also says that though his work may seem small in size, it has a lot of potential in becoming landscape sculptures, which is another form of art Hung hopes to delve into.

“I look forward to all kinds of challenges,” says Hung. “I love trying new things, learning, and making friends. It is beautiful when all these can come together as one.”

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Photo Credit: Olivia Yang/The News Lens
Hung Hsin-fu at work.
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Photo Credit: Olivia Yang/The News Lens
Completed paper-folding of the Formosan landlocked salmon.

Bing-sheng Lee contributed to this article.