Known for a kind of multimedia, rainbow origami, Marie Saudin, aka Mademoiselle Maurice, cherishes the unrestricted context of working in public, a way to introduce art to people from any background. Born and raised in the mountains of Haute-Savoie, France, the artist studied architecture in Lyon before working in Geneva and Marseille. After spending time a tumultuous year in Japan—where she experienced 2011’s earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear power plant explosion in Fukushima—Saudin’s origami work became inspired by Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who developed leukemia after exposure to Hiroshima’s nuclear radiation in 1945. As one version of the story goes, her classmates committed to fulfilling her mission of making 1,000 paper cranes, with which she was eventually buried.
Saudin’s own multi-colored paper cranes can now be found in energetic installations at museums, covering the facade of a psychiatric hospital with vibrant patterns, or creating triangles and radiating lines on a garden wall for an art fair. She also works in a more ephemeral, public context—papering bridges with two-tone portraits made up of miniscule folded bits creme and beige paper and along river banks in swaths of small geometric shapes that balloon out to fill crevices of someone’s face. Saudin’s work has been seen from Berlin to Colombia, and adorning the Saint-Maurice Cathedral, the banks of the Maine river, and London’s subway stations. Sometimes, the magnitude of her projects have required a little help—as with a 2013 project, in which she worked with locals and school children in Angers, France, to create an installation with over 30,000 pieces of origami.