Island of Shattered Glass

(at Daniel Reich Gallery, July 15th – August 10th, 2007)

In the place where I grew up there is a legend of Niraikanai, which is a fertile, utopian island across the ocean, as every other island has one of its own. Robert Smithson made a piece called Atlantis from pieces of broken glass.

I made images from my memory of the scenery from the island where I spent my childhood. The method I employed to create these works is childish looking one: Chigiri-e, a collage-like construction made with torn paper (for this piece, tiny pieces of torn origami paper). It is a common school art-class project in Japan, something you would do in kindergarten. It is tedious, repetitive, and restrictive. And, therefore, it is reflective and meditative. I am recreating scenes of the island from memory, employing a method that is strongly associated with my childhood, using hundreds of thousands of hand-torn origami pieces. Once the pictures are completed, they will be photographed and printed in subdued, almost monochromatic tone. Acting as “snapshots” of my native island, the images set my memories in motion, emphasizing time, in, perhaps, a more radical way than the original Chigiri-e.

And after the photographs are made, the original Chigiries will be put into a shredder. One after another, shredded pieces from the Chigiries will accumulate and form an island, whose dominant color will be blue, the color every single Chigiries will have; the color that was always present in the island. Each shredded piece would reflect bits of memories of the island to which I no longer belong. Therefore, the island itself embodies (although insufficiently) Niraikanai (or Atlantis, perhaps in its most romantic sense), the utopian non-existent island.

A camera faces this island form a distance. This camera focuses at point infinity, in another words it never focuses. Although, if there is such thing as infinity (Atlantis or Niraikanai), maybe this camera can capture it form this distance. At this point, its lens only sees a hazy blue landscape made of shredded images, a failed utopia living in memories.


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