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An interview with origami artist Mademoiselle Maurice

You have until 30th April 2017 to come and admire the amazing origami installation by Mademoiselle Maurice here at Bikini Berlin. We met up with the French artist in her hometown of Marseille to have a chat about her work and see her impressive origami skills in action.


Editor-in-Chief Bikini Berlin
Katrin Schneider
 

Marie, how would you describe your work in one sentence?

If I had to describe my work in just one sentence, I would say I create installations amidst the greyness of big cities using hundreds, or even thousands of folded origamis in rainbow colours to give a piece of nature back to the city.

Where does your passion for origami come from?

Japan! I was there for a year, in 2011, and it was during the time of the severe earthquake, which triggered the devastating tsunami. I experienced all of the grief, fears and worries of the people at first hand. Once I returned to France I wanted to send out a message and began folding origami figures, just like the people in Japan, and presenting them in an artistic way. I wanted to provide answers to all of the questions asked during these difficult times and give the people hope and encouragement for the future.

 
 

What’s the significance of the colours you use?

I only use rainbow colours, it’s like they have become my trademark. In the big wide world out there, so much is gloomy and grey. In the big cities you hardly see any flowers, no brightly coloured tropical birds, there’s not very much light. My rainbow colours are the colours of nature, yellow is the sun, blue the sky – and they have always symbolised harmony and peace. Just picture the flag of the PACE movement, for example. That’s very important to me. Nelson Mandela spoke about the “Rainbow Nation” and by this he meant that we are all the same, even if we might look different, have different skin colours or come from different cultures. But we should all live together in peace and harmony.

As well as your street art consisting of origami on the most diverse of buildings, you’ve also worked for Louis Vuitton and Issey Miyake – and now for Bikini Berlin…

…yes, and I’m so happy I’ve been given this opportunity. Bikini Berlin is a unique concept and a public space, which fits in very well with my street art concept because I want to create installations for everyone, for the public. It’s really exciting to be able to work with so many origamis for Bikini Berlin! Every piece of paper I have folded is unique and all of them together result in one big picture, because only together can we achieve a goal. I also love the fact that every visitor to the mall can make their own contribution and make the whole thing even bigger.

 
 

Yes, our visitors can fold their own origamis and add to the artwork themselves. Can you briefly explain the concept of your installation for us?

The installation is entitled “When the sky meets the earth” and consists of two components, a ceiling and a floor installation. To the observer, it looks like these components have been turned on their heads. The elements of the installation are flying cubes and a flock of origami birds which are connected by the choice of colours. Visitors will see a big colour gradient in my rainbow colours. My aim is to break up the monotony of winter and herald the start of spring.

Wonderful! And in keeping with that we are starting our “Adieu Tristesse” campaign. Spring is here, the grey and gloomy season is finally over. But I have one more question for you Marie, do you have a personal life motto?

Yes, and it is: understand – love – protect. It’s important to understand things because only then can you love them. If we understand each other, we can love each other and be there for each other. That applies to people just as much as the relationship between people and nature. But a peaceful coexistence in all aspects should be everyone’s aim in life.

Thank you very much for talking to us, Marie.