Focus on Japanese artists – Lost and Lilibeth

I’ve been looking at a number of Japanese artists; Tomoko Shioyasu (hand cut paper tapestries),


Tomoto SHioyasu


Tomoko Shioyasu, 2007. waterfall [double tracing paper, h.660 x w.350 x d.65 cm] SCAI The Bathhouse.


Yayoi Kusama (light installations),




Yayoi Kusama, 2012. Infinity mirrored room [LED lights, mirrors]. Tate Modern: London.


Hirofu Iso (fluorescent lighting installations) as well as




Hirofu ISO, 2007. Once night falls.
[Fluorescent Lamp, chain, insects fly during night, varnish and paint
350 × 480 × 200 cm]
Photo by Kenji Morita
Courtesy the artist, Mizuma Art Gallery and DIESEL JAPAN CO., LTD


Kahlil Chishtee [Pakistani artist](delicate sculptures life size made of plastic bags).




Kahlil Chishtee, 2007. Pursuit [plastic bags]. Lahore, Parkistan.


I find resonance and inspiration with the Japanese I enjoy their aesthetic sensibility, monochromatic color, and the delicate nature of the works.  To my mind the physical form of the work which is delicate, elaborate, intricate and white creates an ethereal presence for the work – a ghost like, barely-there intricacy that speaks of hours and hours of careful making and powers of invention and creativity to realize. Choice of materials, color, and techniques employed by the artist are key factors to attain the ephemeral presence of these works. These qualities are especially apparent in the work ‘Phantom Limb’ by Motohiko Odani and ‘Return of the soul’ by Jane Frere and ‘The unbearable lightness of being’ by Kahlil Chishtee.




Motohiko Odani 2013 Phantom Limb. Tokyo.




Kahlil Chishtee, 2013. The unbearable lightness of being.


Jane Frere


Jane Frere, 2013. Return of the Souls.


These works interest me because I aspire to make work with narrative, referencing multiple binaries and embodying an ephemeral presence.  On reflection my interest in these themes is partially evidenced in my work ‘Lost’ from last year and to some degree in ‘Snow-white’.  In ‘Lost’ I have used monochromatic white, the body is subject and for materials the technique of intervention of found materials.  There is narrative and the binaries of life and death, full and empty, the secular and the spiritual are present.  The work embodies science fiction/futurism  rather than ethereal or ephemeral and discusses at a psychological level the impact of consumerist society on identity as well as emotional and spiritual well-being.




Karen Sewell2013. Lost [Mannequins, sound,wooden floor].


I have found another artist Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen who utilises mannequins to explore themes of consumerism and contemporary culture.


Rasmussen                Rasumssen                 Lilibeth



Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, 2013. Outer reflection #1-4 Stockholm, Sweden.


This writing on her work is interesting to me because it explains and identifies some important themes in the work, some of which are also present in ‘Lost’.  In particular the body as  site and subject, questions of identity [as shaped by consumer and popular culture] and an invitation or perhaps requirement of the viewer for identification (creation of site/space for an inter-subjective exchange).  Lilibeth uses these sculptures also as  performance works [primarily at shopping malls],  broadening the audience outside of the gallery site and opening up new possibilities for inter-subjective exchange amongst the wider audience.  Also interesting to me as I have considered taking my work ‘Snow-white’ out into the shopping malls but have been unclear in concept (i.e. installation or performance?) , format (how and where), and presentation (one piece or a body of work on the floor/centre of mall or in an empty shop) of the work.

Emil Bertz: Conversely, the mannequin is globally accepted as an essential part of today’s retail industry. Wherever we go, its appearance and purpose remain the same. We use the mannequin as a surface onto which we project our own selves, while at the same time we internalize the beauty ideals it represents. We become it – it becomes us.
Cuenca Rasmussen’s sculptures construct a poetic and at the same time pointed criticism of this relationship between object and beholder/consumer.
The mirror surfaces of the mannequins turn our gaze back onto ourselves, forcing us to become aware of our own bodies and consumption habits. This way revealed, we can see ourselves as part of a much larger system, as complex and chaotic as ever the sculptures’ reflections on the walls.


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