Artist Yuken Teruya has transformed the most unlikely of paper bags — a McDonald’s to-go sack — into an intricate forest. Normally packed with greasy burgers and fries, the artist returned the fast food bag to its far gone origin, a colorful tree in the forest. The intricate paper sculpture is part of the new group exhibition at Denver’s David Smith Gallery.
Teruya’s additions to the group show transform McDonald’s bags from both London and New York. Each piece is aptly entitled “Notice-Forest: What Victory Tastes Like,” which is a direct reference to the Olympics logos emblazoned on each city’s bag. Outside, the familiar golden arches are still recognizable, as well as the yellow and red logos of McDonald’s and the Olympic Games.
Peek inside and you won’t find a large box of fries, but instead the effect of a diorama. With reinforced sides making each bag sturdy, Teruya has transformed the rectangular shape into a shadow box with a tiny tree inside. Carefully cut from one of the bag’s colorful sides, the fragile tree blooms below. The yellow and red print of the bag create the look of a tree turning colors in autumn, set on a white trunk and branches. The hole created from cutting away the tree lets some light into the interior of the bag, casting delicate shadows caused by the miniature paper leaves that pepper the tree. What’s more, each tree is left attached to the bag, hanging perfectly inside to appear as if it has taken root.
Teruya is no stranger to transforming disused materials into gorgeous sculptural installations, each made with the artist’s meticulously delicate cuts.