MIYANAGA Aiko "valley of sleeping sea"
6 July - 6 August 2022
Mizuma Art Gallery presents a solo show by MIYANAGA Aiko, titled “valley of sleeping sea” beginning on July 6th.
Miyanaga Aiko, who has continued to present her works vigorously in the recent years, was awarded the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s 70th Art Encouragement Prize for New Artists in 2019, and in last year she participated in Tokyo Biennale 2020/2021, “Dialogues with the Collection: 6 Rooms” at Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art, and “The World Began without the Human Race and It Will End without It” at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and has been active both in Japan and overseas.
Miyanaga, who unexpectedly moved to Kyoto during the coronavirus pandemic, now lives in her hometown for the first time in 16 years. Her house in Kyoto is home to Miyanaga Tozan Kiln, founded by her great grandfather Miyanaga Tozan (1868 – 1941). The kiln was constructed about 110 years ago, and it is the place where many ceramic sculptures designed for Western-style rooms were created at the time when incorporating Japanese and Western architectural components into one building design were popular in the architecture of Japanese houses. Many of the plaster mold pieces were left behind in unorganized piles in the workshop at her house, and Miyanaga lived amongst the scenery of molds even throughout her childhood.
In recent years, with restrictions placed to go outside, has naturally given her more opportunities to focus on her family and the everyday things around her life, and this has opened her awareness to the existence of the plaster molds: The molds that serve as supporting role, never to be displayed as an artwork in exhibitions. She was drawn by the absence (space) that exists inside the mold, and as most of the original casted sculptures no longer exist today, she could not stop thinking about the shapes that may come out of these molds.
Miyanaga speaks: “In the end, I seem to be interested in things or time related to people. In my mind, absence is existence, and I don’t believe that absence necessary means ‘nothing’.”
Her works try to capture the absence which has been sleeping in the cavity of the mold with glass in the present time. As the empty space in the mold suddenly takes shape as a physical object and appears with weight, and it is like the past that she had never seen before suddenly appears to meet her. By donning the light and confronting the existence that contains the present, it connects the time with the past, and that leads to the new beginning.
In this exhibition, along with the glass artworks, there are also thin sculptures casted with naphthalene which are arranged as if tracing the surface layer of the mold indents, where they are finally freed from the frozen time to begin a time of new. Her works superimpose the life of people from 100 years ago and the emotions of the Tozan kiln that produced work with an inquisitive spirit and passion for Art Nouveau, with the scenes of present. It is our hope that you would come visit us and enjoy many of these aspects from the new works by Miyanaga Aiko.