(jiří macek) In the prestigious 21_21 Design Sight gallery in Tokyo, situated in the building designed by the phenomenal architect Tadeo Anda, one can visit the Second Nature exhibition until January 18th 2009. You might witness the crystallization of armchairs or a new definition of movement and living space. Apart from the works by Tokujino Yoshioka, the art director and author of the whole concept of the exhibition, one can see conceptual works by the Campana brothers, Yukio Nakagawa, Ross Lovergrove, and Makoto Azuma.
Forty-one-year-old Tokujin Yoshioka is not only an outstanding designer, whose works can be found in the catalogues of such companies like Driade, Moroso, or Vitra, but also a creator of exceptional interiors and installations. His fragile space design for Lexus, Nissan, Issey Miyake, Hermes, or the presentation of the Panna Chair for Moroso, opens the path into illusory landscapes where one moves out of time and space, but is still connected to nature. All you have ever felt subconsciously appears in the form of a pure crystalline answer at the Second Nature exhibition. And I mean this literally.
In the main exhibition area, under clouds made from soft web of white strings, you will find giant aquariums in which armchairs and chairs crystallize. One becomes a witness of a living process during which salt crystals gradually change the shape and character of the furniture in the bath. Everything is accompanied by the music of Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert. The transformation of the furniture represents real life; everything that happens around it is reflected in its physiognomy. Although it might sound pathetic, the process you are witnessing is captivating. The effect of space, light, installation, and invisible life inside the aquariums makes you part of the process. You participate in this life even without realizing it. You are just sitting and watching; in the end, you will be surprised to find that you wish the moment to last forever. The crystal statue of Venus is the Goddess of Memory.
The installations of the other participants of the exhibition also remind us of the principles of birth, nature, and natural developments. The Campana brothers were inspired by huge termitariums, tropical rain, and the trunk of a tree that fell down during a storm close to their studio in Sao Paulo in Brazil. The giant organic Cristalina body has an unfinished shape and unspecified purpose. It is symbolic of life, as well as death, and represents a process stopped at half-time. Cellular Automation by Ross Lovegrove is an analysis of the construction process and the search for new principles of modulation. His principles are demonstrated on his wax organic structures. Although they look like perfect abstract statues, they represent a process.
Apart from designers, the exhibition presents works by important artists form different fields. “Reincarnation” is a dialogue of the dancer and choreographer Kuji Moriyama with the film director Takeshi Kushida. It is Lichtzvang ikebana by the artist Yukio Nakagawa. “Leaf Man” represents a flower installation by Makoto Azuma.
Flowers, photographs, traditional art of buto dancers, and ikebana creators open a path into new nature and take us to a place where the ancient experiences meet with the future. Design is viewed as a process set-off by our subconsciousness and by the memories of which we are sometimes not aware. An excellent exhibition…
Instalation by Tokujin Yoshioka, photo: Masaya Yoshimura