APRIL 24 — JUNE 14, 2014 | LONDON
In Reticulated Time, on exhibit from 25 April to 14 June 2014 at Kashya Hildebrand, London, Japanese artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi presents works from his iconic Layer Drawing and his Stripe Drawing series, exploring the inspiring effects of nature and our perception of it. Nakanishi seeks to uncover a raw beauty within our everyday experience by creating sculptural works that capture and preserve fleeting moments from the natural world. He renders tangible the intangible and seeks to recreate the tactile sensations produced by our surroundings. Suspending these moments in time – a view of a sunrise or a walk through a misty forest – Nakanishi activates our sensory experiences of them: the feel of sunlight on skin, or the smell of mist among the trees.
It is this process of reproducing temporality as a three dimensional object that highlights the provocative contradiction between these solid sculptural objects and the transitory moments they represent. In Light of the Sunrise 2, Nakanishi photographs a sunrise from a fixed point of view, rendering the delicate dance between the rays of the sun and the steady movement of clouds through a series of transparent pictorial surfaces. Viewers are presented with morning’s luminous sky, as clouds float slowly across the consecutive plates, an aftereffect of the images and their movements traced on film. The phenomenological experience at the heart of Nakanishi’s work reveals an interesting tension between the continuity of time and its gaps. The former emerges through the incremental changes of the continual play of light and clouds; and the latter becomes apparent when the work is viewed from the side, laying bare the materiality of the work in the space between the successive slides.
Nakanishi’s Stripe Drawings explore the polarity between full and empty spaces. Comprised of pencil on paper, these works depict the way shadow and light – dark motifs and surrounding white expanse – compete yet harmonize to create graceful patterns. Through their contrastive relationship, Nakanishi prompts a consideration of the interchange between non-existence and background, showing how one gives way to the other, how form emerges from formlessness existence. Their interaction is made manifest in dark pencil shadings against a colourles only to return once again into obscurity, and on and on. This interaction is evident in a work such as Stripe Drawing Mirror – Tactile Forest. Here, the empty space is filled with sunlit, dappled trees and leaves, brought into focus by the distinction between light and dark. However, Nakanishi reverses expectations in his imitation of a photographic negative image: the forest materializes not in the shaded areas, but in the white regions – conventionally the domain of the backdrop – as the shading represents the space in between the trees. It is through its absence that the forest becomes present.
In this exhibition, Nakanishi brings together time and space, as well as the microscopic with the macroscopic. Presenting nature as a series of distilled moments, he seeks to reinvigorate our sensory experiences with its physicality and tactility, as well as highlighting a fundamental structure of the world. One cannot appreciate light without seeing dark, Nakanishi says – it is only through contrast that objects are able to be seen and are able to exist. His work encourages us to reconsider this principle in relation to the larger world in which we live and also to see with fresh eyes places, things, and events that have perhaps grown stale through their very familiarity by imbuing them with a distinctive vitality.