The Art and Mathematics of Origami

Congratulations to Erik and Martin Demaine for their recent Guggenheim award!


“One of our growing realizations over the years is that mathematics itself is an art form, and I think that’s what attracted both of us to this area in the first place. [I]t has the same kind of creativity, the same kinds of aesthetics, that you get in art: You want a clean problem to solve, and you want an elegant solution to that problem. Both art and mathematics are about having the right ideas [and] executing those ideas in some convincing way, so in that sense they’re indistinguishable.” — Erik Demaine on the fusion of art and science.



The Demaines’ curved-crease sculptures exemplify collaborative, cross-disciplinary exploration. Finding origami to be a powerful tool to study mathematics, the father-and-son duo explore foldable forms from both mathematical and artistic perspectives. This concentric circle shape can be traced back to the Bauhaus, which the Demaines have extended further by pushing multiple concentric circles together. Their mathematical origami is part of the Museum of Modern Art’s collection and is on view in the exhibition Applied Design through January 2014. As Martin Demaine says, “All our sculptures represent open problems that we don’t understand but we’re trying to understand, visualized using paper folding.”

Read more about the Demaine’s Guggenheim award here.

Posted on April 22, 2013 by Anya Ventura