Japanese artist Sachiko Abe sits atop a building in a white gown, cutting countless sheets of A4 paper into thin, wispy strips. The performance piece known as Cut Paper is both calming and mystifying. Abe sits for hours on end meticulously shredding paper whose cut feathery strands measure a mere 0.5mm in width. She first began this practice while in a mental institution over 15 years ago because it proved to be a calming activity–an alternative form of meditation.
The performance artist’s serene depiction has a strong element of surrealism that makes the spectator feel like they’ve entered into an alternate universe. There is a pillar of fine-cut paper that looks like a fuzzy icicle and makes it seem like we’re all walking on the ceiling. From this tower, there is a trail leading to the artist, cutting away at her paper. Adding to the dreamlike effect of the live show, Abe’s scissors are connected to speakers that amplify the cutting sound as you draw closer to the artist.
The piece is reminiscent of Yoko Ono’s performance art entitled Cut Piece in which she invites spectators to cut pieces of her clothing off of her, though Abe’s art is less physically interactive with the audience.