Notice Forest (New York 2012)

© Yuken Teruya, Courtesy of Yumiko Chiba Associates

Yuken Teruya
Notice Forest (New York 2012)
Paper bag, glue
18 x 28.5 x 12.5 cm

Yuken Teruya was born in Okinawa in 1973. His work thematizes everyday problems that go by unnoticed in his own brilliant perspective of the world. For this piece, he made tiny incisions in paper shopping bags and created trees within them. It is part of the “Notice-Forest” series, Teruya’s most important work. Whether it’s for a luxury brand or for daily necessities, vast quantities of paper sourced from trees are consumed every day. This artwork evokes the memory of a certain tree in a kind of rebirth. 

If you peer into the bag, you’ll see a single tree standing quietly, reaching up as if it longs for light. Light streams in through the cut-out opening, and the dappled shadows that it casts give the illusion of seeing sunlight through real leaves, creating a spellbinding atmosphere.

But if you shift your point of view, other themes emerge: the relationship between paper and trees, for instance, and environmental issues such as our present society of mass consumption and deforestation. Doesn’t it start to take on a forlorn look, like a lone tree left behind after the destruction of a forest? Though it stands in quietude, it holds a weighty message — and that’s what makes this piece so compelling.

(Commentary:Mami Chida / Translation:Yui Kajita)