Simplicity and extravagance mingled in these works of surprising amplitude. Using only common paper objects and ambient light, Yuken Teruya created entire solar systems and life cycles.
Laid out on a long, low white pedestal, nine yellowing issues of The New York Times comprised the medium and substance of “Minding My Own Business.” From the above-fold image on each front page, plants appeared to sprout, as if reclaiming the paper for the earth. These cutouts, arranged in relation to the images beneath—all documenting sadness or atrocities—created an otherworldly effect.
In Constellation (2012), black luxury-brand shopping bags of various sizes are arranged into delicately balanced piles on wall-mounted shelves. Some bags show logos embossed on the thick paper; all are tipped horizontally to expose empty black interiors. When seen head-on against the white wall in the brightly lit room, elaborate networks of pinpricks appeared inside, like clusters of stars in the night sky.
In the back gallery a collection of unassuming brown paper bags, from lunch sacks to thimble-size replicas, again tilted toward us. Here the only surprise was how beautiful the sculptures are, with soft, ghostly light filtering through the waxy paper, all arranged like leaves on a tree reconstructed from its own processed parts.
A version of this story originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 80.