@biennial Day 2 pt3 work in progress Aiko Miyanaga

13Jul14

Something transient and transformative. A meditation on the Biennial itself?

At Central Library, next door to the Walker Art Gallery, Aiko Miyanaga, who was born in Kyoto, has been commissioned by the White Rainbow gallery to create Strata: slumbering on the shore, which is on show in the Picton Reading Room until September 21.

The 40-year-old is known for site-specific installations using materials like salt and naphthalene (an organic compound which is altered by temperature and humidity).

Her work includes a series of cast naphthalene objects encapsulated in resin such as keys and books.

Aiko Miyanaga
Strata: slumbering on the shore
3 July – 21 September 2014
Miyanaga is known for her site-specific installations: using ephemeral materials such as salt and naphthalene, her practice visualises transition. Transformation starts at the point the work is exposed to the air, physically dissolving, yet challenging the evanescence of the present. Through an array of media that may seem delicate – thin strings of crystallised salt, the sounds of ceramic glass cracking – Miyanaga contrasts material resilience with the flux condition of nature: her work becomes a microcosm of our being and surroundings.

White Rainbow is pleased to commission Aiko Miyanaga to create a new body of work for the Liverpool Central Library during the Liverpool Biennial 2014. Miyanaga is known for her site-specific installations: using ephemeral materials such as salt and naphthalene, her practice visualises transition. Transformation starts at the point the work is exposed to the air, physically dissolving, yet challenging the evanescence of the present. Through an array of media that may seem delicate – thin strings of crystallised salt, the sounds of ceramic glass cracking – Miyanaga contrasts material resilience with the flux condition of nature: her work becomes a microcosm of our being and surroundings. Miyanaga will produce a series of cast naphthalene objects encapsulated in resin. Keys and books are significant motifs recurring throughout her work, and she has collected many in the UK for this exhibition. Napthalene is a volatile compound which sublimates and re-solidifies to release itself from the resin. Naphthalene objects do not simply vanish, instead they are altered by the conditions of temperature and humidity, and ultimately replaced by the air in the gallery space, and even the breath of the visitors. Some of the pieces will have a limited airflow, holding them in a stable state as they lie dormant for their moments to be integrated into reading, whilst some will be allowed to sublimate. Bubbles are purposefully let into the resin, capturing the ‘atmosphere’ of the space in which the object was cast: each sculptural piece incorporates layers of time. Miyanaga’s perspective on the library is more than a collection of words, books or representation of history; she values hidden meanings and traces of thoughts. The exhibition incorporates the library’s historic magnifying glass, allowing the viewer to read through these strata of the present. Miyanaga’s work is one vestige of a larger whole, a stage in the continuous cycle of the elements – it is an apparatus which asks us to pause, to read between the lines and to wonder with serendipity.

Aiko Miyanaga (born in 1974 in Kyoto) graduated from Graduate School of Fine Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008 and is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kyoto Art and Design. Her notable exhibitions include: Sapporo International Art Festival 2014, (Sapporo, 2014); House, Mizuma Art Gallery (Tokyo, 2013); Aiko Miyanaga: Nakasora – The reason for eternity, The National Museum of Art (Osaka, 2012); Beginning of the landscapes, Mizuma Art Gallery (Tokyo, 2011); Aichi Triennale 2010, Aichi Arts Center (Nagoya, 2010), Mirage of Water at Shiseido Art Egg (Tokyo, 2009). She received the grand prize of the Nissan Art Award 2013, Japan; The Gotoh Memorial Foundation Newcomer’s Art Prize; and The Creative Tradition Prize by Japan Arts Foundation, Japan, 2011; winner of the Best Young Artist Award by ShContemporary 09 – Discoveries, China. Liverpool Central Library and Archive provides a world-class service in a magnificent building located in the cultural quarter of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic sections of the building dating back to the 1860s have recently been extensively restored and fully opened to the public for the first time. The new-build sections include a dramatic atrium, high quality visitor facilities, access to extensive library and archive collections, free access to computers and wi-fi, a state-of-the-art repository for the archives and special collections which date back to the 13th century, and a conservation studio. White Rainbow is a gallery established as a platform for contemporary and postwar art from Japan. It shares work which is timeless yet of its time; addresses the local, yet is borderless in its relevance. Its ethos is to place the work in the context of its production, and to find counterpoint in its current setting. Through its programme of exhibitions, events and residencies, it hopes to deepen understanding and expand perceptions of Japanese art.
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