Art in dialogue with architecture and the human body

TOKYO – Interior architecture is rife with assumed values – spaces become charged with expectations of the content and services it should provide for the bodies that move within it. Staircases and liminal spaces on the other hand, become non-places, where little intentional time is spent. A neutral zone in appearance, such passageways are not only necessary but are often more literally active than many other areas within an interior. As an act of interruption, Rikako Nagashima’s installation Human Nature: An Homage to Anish Kapoor hangs in the ‘void’ spaces of the MVDRV-designed Gyre retail centre in Tokyo. More than a mall, Gyre houses an art gallery for rotating exhibitions as well as a MoMA Design Store – the first outside of New York City.

Human Nature: An Homage to Anish Kapoor by Rikako Nagashima in Gyre, Tokyo, calls into question the 'void' spaces in buildings.

The installation was initially suggested to Nagashima as an opportunity to contribute to Concept of Happiness: Anish Kapoor’s Outline of Collapse, an exhibtion on display at the Eye of Gyre art gallery. Responding to the architecture as well as British artist and sculptor Kapoor’s insidiously biomorphic work – often evocative of flesh, blood and body parts – Nagashima’s installation uses the foam tubes of insulation ducts to imitate the building’s structural language and the body’s intestinal tubes. In contradiction to the material, the iron-rich red tubes immediately relates to the human body, transforming the architecture into an analogy for the latter and circulating the spirit of Kapoor’s art from the street throughout the entire building.

To the onlooker, the neutral area is suddenly activated, inviting a re-examination of the duality that exists within this piece in relation to the space it inhabits and Anish Kapoor’s work.

Human Nature: An Homage to Anish Kapoor since been relocated to a former clinic-now-gallery and renamed Musubi – a reference to the Japanese word which means both tying a knot and to grow and develop. In its new space, designed by Schemata Architects, the tangles of tubing again impose their physicality on the environment.

Musubi refers to the act of knotting and tying together as a wish for fertility and prosperity. The Japanese use mizuhiki, decorative knots and cord patterns, as a congratulatory gift or to tie an envelope containing congratulatory money, such as on the occasion of musu-ko ('born boy') and musu-me ('born girl') – the birth of sons and daughters.

Here, the visitor can more clearly see the skin-like qualities of the material, wrinkling due to the installation’s new configuration in response to the space. The reconfiguration also engages in a different dialogue with the space, as it transgresses boundaries – between interior and exterior, and between viewer and exhibit – calling into question our relationship with the spaces we inhabit.

The gallery stands adjacent to Blue Bottle Coffee Sangenjaya Café, also designed by Schemata Architects. Customers looking out into the shared garden space find themselves in an inexplicable encounter with the intriguing red coils and knots, without context.

rikako-nagashima.com

Human Nature: An Homage to Anish Kapoor
Art installation Rikako Nagashima
Production Masami Shiraishi (Sky the Bathhouse)
Curation Takayo Iida
Construction Tank 

Human Nature: Musubi
Art installation Rikako Nagashima
Curation Takayo Iida

Leaderboard: London Design Week
Leaderboard: London Design Week

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