Rie Hachiyanagi came to the United States as a high school exchange student in rural Kansas from Sapporo, Japan. Her initial inability to effectively communicate in English led her to engage in artistic forms of expression.
Hachiyanagi’s installation/handmade paper works, such as houses of beings and Lucid Absurdity, have dealt with the correspondence between visual and textual languages, which is established upon the absurd conflicts among urges, necessities, and mortality. She draws her philosophy from Camus, Heidegger, Haiku poets, modern Japanese novelists, and ancient Chinese thinkers.
Hachiyanagi’s artistic development is threaded with a series of performance works that are inspired by autobiographical events and social issues. Benevolence evoked an inner quietness with extremely slow and repetitive motions, questioning the exponential acceleration of our contemporary lives. MISEMONO: SIDESHOW dealt with cultural stereotypes and racial issues. Ritual for RED was a re-enactment of the lost memories suffered from a severe auto accident.
One of Hachiyanagi’s ongoing research projects involves collecting and documenting stories from old Japanese papermakers before their knowledge disappears without being recorded. She hopes to uncover a crucial female role in the history of papermaking, which has seldom been discussed in the traditional craft world. In addition, her recent fascination with bamboo has led her to investigate both history and methods of bamboo papermaking.
Prior to coming to Mount Holyoke, Hachiyanagi taught at Alfred University in New York.