A few days ago, my friend and I reminisced about a professor at our grad school who ate paper. She’d tear off pieces of it and roll it into tiny balls while you were engaged in an otherwise normal conversation. A few minutes later, you’d look down and realize that the entire sheet was gone. I’m not judging her because my favorite snack when I was a kid was Elmer’s Glue, so I can understand the compulsion to eat stationery products. Our professor would find lots to chew over at Suho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館), especially since their current exhibit is called A Dining Scenery (用餐風景：紙，在方寸之間) and focuses on food (actual food, not paper) and the art of eating.
Suho Memorial Paper Museum is tiny, but the museum’s team takes advantage of its small size to curate intimate, engaging exhibitions. I’m always impressed by the thoughtfulness of their events (including workshops, performances and talks). A Dining Scenery features three very different installations. One by the design team behind Zabu cafe shows how school lunches can be turned into a visually appealing, relaxing experience. Japanese artist Kobayashi Junko created large murals made out of single sheets of handmade paper. Calligraphic works by Ho Chia-hsing (何佳興) hang next to a recreation of his studio desk with brushes and a tiny teapot — the act of brewing, pouring and drinking cupfuls of tea over and over again is meditative and ties in closely with his work on pieces like a rendition of the Heart Sutra, a Buddhist text. Suho has also organized a wide-ranging roster of classes for A Dining Scenery, ranging from how to make herbal teas to teaching kids table manners and how to appreciate their food (which, presumably, will not include Elmer’s Glue).
I love visiting the museum because it’s very peaceful and they have a lovely rooftop space with a bamboo latticework structure by conceptual artists Yangenn Wang (王揚恩) and Yu-Chin Hsiao (蕭有志). There are daily paper making workshops featuring different pulps and add-ins depending on the current exhibition.
Here are some photos from a previous exhibit, including a piece by Kobayashi Junko that featured three dozen paper birds cut from handmade washi paper. It was really simple, but made a huge impression on me and I think of it every time I think of Suho. Each bird featured a different color, texture and pattern.