29.03.2021 #art

Sachiko Kodama

VISION GATE – “Gravity Garden”

Everyone who visits Japan will pass through the exhibition and experience something that will have a lasting impact on them.

At a time when travelling and discovering new cultures has become difficult, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan, has launched an initiative to promote the uniqueness and multi-dimensional appeal of the Japanese culture. Called CULTURE GATE to JAPAN, the project consists in a series of exhibitions held at seven airports across the country. The Tokyo International Haneda Airport and the Narita International Airport are both hosting VISION GATE as part of the initiative: an exhibition of eight groups of Japanese artists from all generations curated by MoMA Senior Curator of Architecture & Design Paola Antonelli. While Yuri Suzuki and Miyu Hosoi present the sound installation « Crowd Cloud », six groups of artists present their vision of Japanese tradition and future through a series of videos displayed in the airport’s arrival concourse and various places. acky bright, Jun Inoue, Mariko Mori, Monika Mogi, PARTY, and Sachiko Kodama all give their own interpretation of their country’s unique culture for people to experience just as they get off the plane…


What does the idea of « vision » evoke to you as an artist?

Vision is the visual connection between the world and myself, and between past and future. The images that I project myself are influenced by the layers of my memory, and they take part in creating a depiction of the future. I think it is the artist’s job to explore, sharpen, and refine the different meanings and senses of a vision while creating bridges between past and future.

How much is your work influenced by your Japanese roots, and the tension between past and present, tradition and innovation in Japanese culture ?

Japanese nature, formal beauty, and color have strongly influenced this particular work.
In addition to the black magnetic fluids (ferrofluids), we’ve been using newly developed red, green, and blue fluorescent magnetic fluids in this work, ”Gravity Garden”. Black magnetic fluids show custom-made luster and reflections of liquid metals blended with iron nanoparticles. A special magnetic field uses electromagnets to move large numbers of thorns and patterns off of the magnetic fluids, along with dazzling light effects, which gives it a visually intense aesthetic.

Unlike a glossy black magnetic fluid with reflected light, the vivid yet matte fluorescent magnetic fluid has a pigment-like texture used in Japanese paintings and drawings. Red, or more precisely crimson, looks vivid when irradiated with black light. But it can also look like vermilion, and has an attractiveness similar to Japanese lacquer. Depending on the angles, lacquer is not a simple reflection of the surface of light, but rather a deep color that changes slightly from a deep layer. As for green, it is like matcha! In the video, there are scenes where we can see a red fluorescent magnetic fluid rising against gravity and spreading its spines like a peacock spreads its wings. But here, in my creative process, I designed it to achieve a certain symmetry, just like a Japanese Torii gate or the Phoenix Hall of a Byodoin Temple. In addition, in the video’s “Morpho Tower” scene, the sea and the mountain are arranged as in a obon, the Japanese tray. In the “Ribome” scene, within the glass, the magnetic fluid breathes in a garden where white gravel is drawn. My work is also influenced by the pines of Matsubara, near Miho, in the Prefecture of Shizuoka, where I was born and raised. I’m also influenced by the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Fuji, as well as the erupting nature of Sakurajima, which I experienced many times when I was a child.

Can you tell us about your work presented for « VISION GATE» and displaying it in an airport as opposed to an art gallery?

I call my work “Garden with Gravity and Magnetic Force”. I considered the display as being a window, and from there, I overlapped “Gravity Garden” with the image of seeing the garden of an unknown planet. Visitors of the airports of Haneda and Narita will see a mysterious garden with objects arranged in a Japanese style, with organic spines like magnetic fluid plants moving out of the window. I think what’s very interesting about “Vision Gate” being exhibited in an international airport is that everyone who visits Japan will pass through the exhibition, and can experience something that will have a changing impact on them, like entering the unique minds of Japanese artists. Whenever I traveled abroad and saw different cultures, lifestyles, and landscapes, I was refreshed and often came up with new ideas. I pray that the covid-19 will come to an end and that we will be able to easily travel around the world very soon.

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