in a deep-red homage to anish kapoor, artist rikako nagashima has tangled together HUMAN NATURE, an installation kapoor’ish in scale, color and intention. HUMAN NATURE has been installed at two locations. her work has been suspended through multiple levels of tokyo’s MVRDV-designed eye of gyre gallery, and has consumed the life of a concrete clinic-turned-art-gallery by schemata architects in japan — the latter of which is pictured here, tied-together.

rikako nagashima anish kapoor
all images courtesy of rikako nagashima

 

 

anish kapoor is believed by many to be an artist devoted to dichotomy. blood, vortexes, voids — his works certainly convey paradoxes. life, death, happiness, sorrow. they’re beautiful and ugly and they often tie into life and religions in india. as such, rikako seeks to create a dichotomy of her own — an homage that draws inspiration from kapoor’s artistic execution, and draws dichotomies from her own culture’s philosophy, yin and yang.

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

 

 

while cultural perspectives differ between the two artists, rikako and kapoor’s differences in gender — perhaps the most differing difference of all — creates an interesting dichotomy in itself. ‘I felt a sense of masculinity in kapoor’s work,’ rikako writes, ‘perhaps because of the massive impact of the large object erect against gravity. since I also found that his philosophy has some affinity with the eastern philosophy of yin-yang, I conceived an idea to create an installation that would counter the strong existence of his work with reference to the concept of yin-yang. just like the way kapoor’s work is closely related to life and religions in india, my idea is to express dichotomies reflected in life and religions in japan, with a focus on reality that I face as a woman.’

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

 

 

during the early jomon period in japan, people made clay figurines of women. the creation of these figures marked the beginning of worship toward the mother goddess. however, later, during the middle jomon period, people broke the clay figurines that they made. according to one theory, says rikako, around that same time, a form of crop cultivation was doing harm to the earth. this story was a muse of inspiration for her installation, HUMAN NATURE.

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

 

 

‘in my view, the clay figurine, which accepted the act of breaking and natural course of all existence, is associated with the woman’s womb signifying the receptive nature of the female gender. the act of receiving is associated with the way of nature, like how water keeps transforming and existing in ever-changing environments. on the contrary, the act of not receiving may attribute to the way of humans who counter the way of nature although they are part of nature. a womb can conceive a life, regardless of whether a woman wishes or not. on the contrary, humans think and make decisions between good and bad, or whether to keep or kill a life. a mother feels the dichotomic existence of life and death with an overwhelming sense of reality, because she experiences coexistence of life and death of herself as well as those of another person within her body. I wonder how many women had to suffer from having to choose between life and death of the unborn under difficult circumstances despite experiencing wonderful natural phenomena occurring in her body.’

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

 

 

in order to further explain her concept, rikako explains, concisely, elegantly, the dichotomy of words and how they relate to ideas in japan — ‘the commonly used japanese word for ‘bear/give birth to’, umu can alternate with a word musubu according to a traditional definition, which is a word commonly used for ‘tie together.’ originally, the word musubi (tying / a knot) comes from a word musu (to grow / to develop) combined with a word hi (mythical power), and the act of tying together signifies people’s wishes for succession and prosperity of life. since ancient times, people pray to musuhi gods for succession of life in japan. generations of musu-ko (born boy = son) and musu-me (born girl = daughter) were born from the body of the mother goddess (earth), and as a consequence, we all came into existence today. the circle of human life in this world –– multiple repetitions of lives being tied together and separated, being born and dying –– is exactly like the way how the womb has accepted everything beyond what is good or bad.’

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

 

 

kapoor once said that his work was neither abstract nor non-abstract, ’it sits between meaning and no meaning. so apparently, it’s just a form.’ thus, we get rikako’s perspective with HUMAN NATURE — a true, unbiased observation of reality. there is good and there is bad. there is life. there is death. ‘what I created as an homage to kapoor is meant to be broken clay figurines,’ she says, ‘the will and voice of my body told myself to behave like a womb without questioning good or bad, while constantly transforming like water –– and our efforts resulted in this ever-transforming installation created through the continuous act of tying.’

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor

rikako nagashima anish kapoor


video of HUMAN NATURE: an homage to anish kapoor at tokyo’s eye of gyre gallery

 

 

project info:

 

human nature_homage to anish kapoor:
art instration: rikako nagashima
produce: masami shiraishi( sky the bathhouse)
curation: takayo iida
construction: tank
photography: kenta hasegawa

 

human nature_musubi:
art instration: rikako nagashima
curation: takayo iida
photography: kenta hasegawa

 

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