No wonder Junya Ishigami started with architecture firm SANAA. His architectural projects have a similar organic character you will probably recognized if you’ve read my previous blog post on Grace Farms, CT. Fondation Cartier pour l’ Art Contemporain currently offers an exquisite exhibition of Junya Ishigami’ s preparatory models, which are all works of art in their own right. If you are fascinated by new architecture or simply curious, rush to the exhibition to check it out. All models capture Junya Ishigami’s incessant quest to push back the limits of what is possible to build and how to build it. Yet what strikes me the most is how visually unique each architectural solution appears, as if Ishigami’s style was constantly reinventing itself, feeding off Nature’s infinite plurality of forms and shapes. Let me highlight a few projects to give you a flavor of what is displayed at the Cartier Foundation but if you can, go and check it out for yourself before September 9, 2018.
In the 1960’s, Yayoi Kusama’ s Infinity Nets were her very personal response and contribution to a New York art scene populated by Jackson Pollock’s drips, Barnett Newman’s zips, Rothko’s Color Fields… But as seen in a recent post, Kusama’ s nets were born out of her hallucinatory visions, her Abstract Expressionism being an artistic fighting mechanism against psychological self-obliteration. A self-declared “obsessional artist”, Kusama lives her art inside her own head and seems to breathe it onto canvas and soft sculptures. It was only a matter of time before using small finite rooms became another visual expression and representation of her troubled psyche. It started around 1965. Kusama’ s Infinity Rooms are small yet they open up an infinite sense of space as mirrors reflect lights, objects and viewers in all directions.
Over the last few weeks, it’s all been monumental scale with the works of Yayoi Kusama or Richard Deacon (still showing at SDMART until July 25, 2017 – click the link for more info). Today, let me shrink your world to the size of a netsuke 🙂 Netsuke are very small in size (1-1.5 inch / 2.5- 3.8cm, think smaller than your thumb) and yet they are probably more exquisite in details than anything I have ever seen. Even the world of jewels that I know so well can look static and stiff compared to the movement and life that netsuke convey. During my recent trip to Japan, I visited the Kyoto Seishu Netsuke Art Museum. With netsuke being so small, forget about grand scale architectural landmarks: the word “museum” takes on a very different connotation. I entered the only surviving samurai house in Kyoto, dating from 1820. I stepped back in time, or rather stooped.
The art of Yayoi Kusama is bold, colorful and extremely popular these days. People flock to her exhibitions, kids play in her dotted pumpkins and everybody marvel at the magic of her infinity rooms. Yet, Kusama’s underpinning story is extremely dark. I am actually surprised that many people never go beyond the fun visuals that her vibrant use of colors infuses. I wanted to rectify this a little and take you down the path of her self-obliteration…Don’t be frightened, she makes it a visual feast!