Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Borrowed from Milan Kundera’s celebrated novel, the title for this text seems only too adequate to the work of Odani Motohiko we are featuring in this text. Interested in capturing “the concepts of movement and transformation, dynamism and speed in sculpture”, according to his own words, Motohiko’s art pieces strike viewers with their eerie and almost surreal appearance.

Working with a variety of media, we shall, however, concentrate exclusively on one of his lines of creation, which fits our choice of aesthetics to which we want to remain faithful. Addressing philosophical issues and sculpture concepts not easily grasped by the majority of viewers, let us then solely focus our attention on his lighter-than-air, stunning, imaginative works which leave viewers breathless with wonder.

Born in 1972 in Kyoto, Japan, Odani Motohiko graduated from the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, where he is presently an Associate Professor,  and has gained international applause and recognition as one of the most innovative and unconventional sculptors of our times. Working on themes of physical sensations and psychological states, such as pain and fear, his creations standing somewhere between beauty and ugliness, life and death, the spiritual and the secular, Motohiko thus challenges latent thoughts and emotions in his viewers.

Curiously enough and quite like Kundera’s novel from which the title of this text has been borrowed, Motohiko’s sculptures defy the conventional image of weightiness generally associated with sculpture. The void of white forms of his “Phantom Limb” and “Hollow” sculptures, which seem to float in the air in a winding flow of energy and weightlessness, convey to viewers contradictory emotions, while also exuding an ethereal, uncommon and awesome beauty.

Motohiko’s art works in the mentioned series are created with resin, an unexpected and, again, unconventional medium in sculpture. Its texture requires a totally different technique from chiselling, the most common practice used in sculpture. Instead, it involves creating a mould and shaping the inside with the outside. This, in turn, somehow anticipates the final result of emptiness so dear to Motohiko.

Moreover, the fact that resin turns white further serves the objectives of Odani Motohiko, since white is devoid of colour while it also allows for countless variations, depending on the kind of light under which it is displayed. The result is one of extreme beauty.

All in all, and leaving out all the deep complexities inherent to Odani Motohito’s works, they do convey to viewers ambiguous sensations in their oneiric and visually stunning beauty, challenging our concepts about the unbearable lightness of being.

No comments:

Post a Comment