The notion of nothingness has a central place in Japanese art – as central as is the symbolism of the mountain. From Murakami’s time condensing well to Hokusai’s views of Fuji, dominant form and -all-encompassing emptiness are twin motifs that the culture can’t escape. Japanese artist Yasuki Onishi manages to combine these counterposed ideas – and crystallises them in beautiful, nature reflective forms
His recent site-specific installation was created in Houston’s Rice University Gallery. The piece ‘reverse of volume RG’, is made with ephemeral materials like opaque plastic sheeting and dripping hot glue to make an uncanny, three dimensional evocation of a mountainous landscape. You don’t just simply stare in wonder at the exterior of Onishi’s piece – you walk around, through and observe its interior contours. The overall experience is one, fittingly, of wonder. It’s the sort of feeling you get experiencing a mountain at first hand. There’s a sense of awe, of the infinite interconnectedness of things.
It’s a experience that validates the idea that art has a visceral purpose and a tangible meaning – no matter how nebulous the materials may seem to be.