Artist Eric Joisel began his unlikely career as a trained sculptor outside Paris. In his late 20s, however, he threw away every clay pot and chiseled carving and began to practice origami. Working from single sheets of paper - in a quest to transform two dimensions into three - Joisel's imagination sprang to life. Many of his greatest works involved coaxing intricate human portraits from paper: from furrowed brows and aged, careworn hands to elaborate costumes and artfully crafted faces. Considered one of the world's most gifted paperfolders, he created a body of work that only years ago would have been considered impossible. Tragically, his talent gaining international recognition, Eric Joisel passed away in France October 10, 2010 at age 53.
Arlecchino. 2009. approx 50 cm tall. Credit: Origami House, Japan
Il Capitan. 2009. approx 50 cm tall. Credit: Origami House, Japan
Colombina. 2009. approx 50 cm tall. Credit: Origami House, Japan
Pagliaccio. 2009. approx 50 cm tall. Credit: Origami House, Japan
The four final pieces of Joisel's last work, Commedia dell'Arte: Arlecchino, Capitan, Colombina, and Pagliaccio. Credit: Origami House, Japan
"The characters from Commedia dell'Arte are extremely attractive in my mind. Commedia dell'Arte is a professional form of theatre that began in Italy in the mid-16th century, and featured masked characters, the advent of the actress, and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios. Compagnie, or companies, were troupes of actors, each of whom had a specific function or role. The costumes from that period (let's say 16th-17th Century) are magnificent, especially if you are interested in textures, like me. I already created a mythical couple: Arlecchino and Colombina. Both are now in the Origami House, Tokyo.”
— Eric Joisel