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Explorations of Impermanence: Fujiko & Ukichiro Nakaya on at Maison Hermes

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Explorations of Impermanence: Fujiko & Ukichiro Nakaya on at Maison Hermes
"Opal Loop / Cloud Installation", 1980. New York City, USA. Collaboration with Trisha Brown Dance Company. Photo: ©Johan Elbers & Tokyo Art Beat

Currently on at the Maison Hermes (Le Forum) in Ginza, Japan is the exhibition ‘Greenland’. It showcases works of the artists Fujiko and Ukichiro Nakaya. The works of both artists have been exhibited widely across Japan including Tokyo and Kaga, and internationally including the United States, Europe, and others. Best known for their fog works, which are ephemeral, experiential installations for viewers to pass through and dwell inside of. The title ‘Greenland’ is a reference to Ukichiro’s later works in which he focused on ice and snow. The works of the Nakaya’s will remain on view at until March 4, 2018.

Installation view at Maison Hermes (Le Forum). Photo credit: ©Nacása & Partners Inc. Courtesy of: Fondation d'entreprise Hermès.

Ukichiro thought that humans must work together with nature in order to understand and therefore discover more about the world and ourselves. Echoing the sentiments of her father, Fujiko has collaborated with artists across many mediums including: light, dance, music and architecture, among others.

Scientist Ukichiro Nakaya said “Snow crystals are letters sent from heaven,”. This now famous quote was declared back in 1936. Collaboration in works, whether they fall under categorization of science or art, is an essential component to exploration. Ukichiro thought that humans must work together with nature in order to understand and therefore discover more about the world and ourselves. Echoing the sentiments of her father, Fujiko has collaborated with artists across many mediums including: light, dance, music and architecture, among others.

The duo are daughter and father, and have collaborated for decades on realizing immersive works rooted in interests specific to both parties. This exhibition is centered around a new body of work that describes the observations of both father and daughter. Father Ukichiro Nakaya discovered the first artificial snowflake, and daughter Fujiko Nakaya captured the images photographically. Fujiko made the first fog installation in 1970, and since this time, has installed over eighty iterations of fog around the world.

Installation view Maison Hermes (Le Forum). Photo credit: ©Nacása & Partners Inc. Courtesy of: Fondation d'entreprise Hermès.

The fog is akin to a human body, present for a brief period of time, and slowly disappears.

This series on view is entitled 'Glacial Fog'. An aim is to captures the fleeting nature of fog itself, and potentially to pose a poetic metaphor this may have regarding the transient nature of life itself. There is a viseral experience that the viewer can have while passing through the installation. The body's interaction with the particles of moisture is momentary, and can live on in the memory long after the initial encounter of the work. The fog is akin to a human body, present for a brief period of time, and slowly disappears.

Installation view Maison Hermes (Le Forum). Photo Credit: SANKOO DESIGN x JAPAN.

The fog almost appears to be in the process of erasing the building through consumption. The duality between the weight and materiality of the fog, versus the weight and materiality of the structure creates a compelling tension in the photograph.

Ukichiro claimed “To understand ice, you have to listen to ice.” This encapsulates a perspective that shows acute sensitivity to the processes within nature. This appreciation for, and belief that the material will reveal more in time is often not apart of the methodology of most scientists. However, this approach has the potential to continue to yield results long after the initial observation. Essentially what Ukichiro is asserting is that the questions that we are investigating are in relation to our own positions in relation to nature. If we are receptive, we may be surprised by what we are able to uncover.

As seen in the work ‘Greenland Glacial Moraine Garden’ realized in 1994 for the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice, the Nakaya’s fog sets across and around the buildings exterior. Located in Kaga, Japan this permanent installation is an example of the fog installation, and additionally, the intersection of the nature and the synthetic. The fog almost appears to be in the process of erasing the building through consumption. The duality between the weight and materiality of the fog, versus the weight and materiality of the structure creates a compelling tension in the photograph.

"Greenland Glacial Moraine Garden", 1994. Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice. Kaga, Japan (permanent installation). Photo Credit: Tamotsu Ushiozu & Time Out Tokyo

It is about concealing and revealing, and the magic inherent to processes in nature that are so minute they are often overlooked.

In the installation views at Maison Hermes, viewers are seen engaging with the fog clouds as they walk through them. The images are evocative of flying on an airplane and passing through the clouds. Or morning fog that lifts by noon, revealing parts of the previously concealed landscape. It is about concealing and revealing, and the magic inherent to processes in nature that are so minute they are often overlooked. Additionally, archival information is on view that documents older works, such as the the 1980 ‘Opal Loop / Cloud Installation’ made in collaboration with the Trisha Brown Dance Company in New York City, United States. This was apart of the group E.A.T. (Experimental Arts and Technology). The exhibitions of this work occurred internationally.

 

For exhibition information including location, hours of operation, ticketing and accessibility, please refer to: https://www.maisonhermes.jp/en/ginza/le-forum/archives/673743


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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