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Seiji Fujishiro, Japan's Paper Cutup

By Jessica Dawson
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page C05

• Eighty-year-old artist Seiji Fujishiro rocks the Japan Information and Culture Center galleries with a groovy exhibition of high-caliber kitsch. "Symphony of Light and Shadow" -- the show is hardly as serious as its title -- finds the much-loved elder statesman of Japanese art cutting cutesy figures and elaborate, doily-dainty backgrounds out of paper colored in rainbow-bright hues. Each panel is backlit by light boxes in the darkened gallery. The net effect crosses stained glass with televised cartoons. Fujishiro has been making these kage-e, or paper-cut pictures, since the 1940s; his wide-eyed mermaids, mischievous kitties and elves shod in go-go boots set precedents for much of the ecstatic, helium-filled Japanese art we see today. Like his countrywoman the wacky, dot-loving artist Yayoi Kusama, Fujishiro flanks several pieces with mirrors or pools of water that multiply reflections ad infinitum. Drop your newspaper and go. Now.

Seiji Fujishiro at the Japan Information and Culture Center, Lafayette Centre III, 1155 21st St. NW, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-

"The Cosmos Flowers Are Singing," one of Seiji Fujishiro's whimsical creations. (Japan Information And Culture Center)

5 p.m., 202-238-6949, to March 9.

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