Photo Gallery Shadow Play

The Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita specializes in shadows cast by folded paper, carved wood or aluminum numerals. Although she left her homeland almost 30 years ago, she says her art is still very Japanese.
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The Japanese art Kumi Yamashita specializes in shadows cast by folded paper, carved wood or aluminum numerals. She creates silhouettes with square pieces of origami paper.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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Yamashita bends and folds the origami paper in such a way that it cases the shadow of a silhouette on the wall. "I use very subtle force, very slowly," she says. "You have to be careful not to bend it too much. It's very fragile work; if anyone touches it, that's it. "

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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She claims she can recreate any profile -- although she admits that beards are tricky.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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For SPIEGEL ONLINE, she created a shadow portrait of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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Kumi Yamashita was born in Maebashi, north of Tokio, but she has been living abroad for almost 30 years. She currently lives in New York.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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"The longer I am away, the more I notice a Japanese tendency in my work -- simplicity, the tendency to reduce things," Yamashita says. "I am drawn to temporary things."

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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Yamashita also creates shadow art using other materials. For this mother and child, she carved two pieces of wood.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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This picture of a woman is created by the shadows cast by aluminum numerals arranged in front of a single light source.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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Here, an aluminum sheet casts the shadow of a couple.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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The artist also works with other materials. To create this portrait, she first painted a wooden board white, then put a large number of nails into it.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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She then wound a single, regular thread around the nails to create the image.

Foto: Kumi Yamashita
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