An eight-metre-long crocodile cut entirely from one sheet of paper by Japanese artist, Nahoko Kojima, will join the Gallery’s Old Masters this summer, suspended from the ceiling in the Gallery’s entrance hall. Timed to coincide with the Gallery’s exhibition of linocuts by the Grosvenor School, this dramatic intervention will champion the power of paper as a creative medium. 

Kojima, whose previous works include Cloud Leopard (2012), Byaku (2013), a swimming polar bear, and Shiro (2018), a life-sized blue whale, is a key protagonist of the paper cut sculpture movement and is renowned for turning majestic animals into works of art, making them to scale. Crocodile Sumi is a unique new commission for the Gallery and will be constructed from one single custom-made sheet of Japanese Washi paper. It will be painted black and gold using Japanese Sumi ink, complementing the gilded frames of the Gallery’s Collection and the dark palettes of the Old Master paintings within them. 

Nahoko Kojima, said: 

“This incredibly resilient animal arose well before us and has outlived the dinosaurs by some 65 million years. Humans have destroyed many animals, yet every one of the 23 species of crocodile exists today. They are known for their ability to thrive in even the most destabilised of ecosystems and last as long as humans yet exhibit no signs of agility loss associated with ageing. My work is about a timeless beauty and a celebration of nature. This show at Dulwich Picture Gallery is very dear to me because it enables the development of my art and furthers my aim of bringing joy to people’s lives by conveying simple hidden truths all around them. This can be as pure as the veins on a leaf or the dignity of a rare animal and how it lives.” 

Jennifer Scott, The Sackler Director at Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: 

“This exciting installation epitomises the grace and grandeur of Kojima’s work, created with breath-taking skill. It will surprise and delight visitors with an immediate contemporary presence, which is in keeping with the original innovation of our exceptional collection of Old Master paintings within Sir John Soane’s pioneering architecture.” 

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, SE22 19th June – 8th September. £16.50, £15. 

Photos: Solo Kojima