Born in 1980, Sipho Mabona now lives in Lucerne, Switzerland. He was the first ever foreigner to have his work grace the cover of the official magazine of the Japan Origami Academic Society Convention in 2008. At the Lucerne Theatre, Mabona created his first set design for the premiere of the brass opera ‘Jungle’ in the 2019/20 season.
Through the act of precise folding, Sipho Mabona explores the themes of transformation, transition and transience. Mabona first discovered origami – created using only folds – as a twenty-year-old. Fascinated by this traditional craft, which is based on meticulous procedures and Far Eastern theories and philosophies, the artist began to create an impressive world of figurative forms.
In this fresh body of work, however, Mabona questions the boundaries of painting and sculpture. In a decidedly contemporary take on an ancient art form, he explores new possibilities in the technique, bridging origami and abstract art by rendering interlinking patterns and shadows simply through un/folded canvas. The reliefs included here represent parts of a woman, a dragonfly and a cicada, and serve as a metaphor for agility, elegance and moving beyond limitations.
Mabona’s work is both a contrast and counterbalance for the twenty-first century: although imbued with the history of this ancient Japanese practice, these objects possess a fresh and minimal quality too.