Christa Myburgh

BEING

Asuka Nirasawa is a multifaceted multimedia artist who shares the results of the partnership between her artistic fluidity, curiosity and philosophical sensibilities at Eclectica Contemporary through this exhibition “BEING”.

Asuka’s work combines four series of works of which the common thread of the work consists of a circular pattern. Through these particular works – Asuka presents viewers with her exploration and experimentation of the circular motifs to be found in African fabrics that she has been studying for the past 2 years in great detail. The philosophical central theme here is based on experimental work she began whilst living in India in 2013. Asuka places these motifs within a philosophical discourse by challenging it’s aspects beyond just the decorative and ornamental – she questions the deeper meaning of the circular form.  Although Asuka herself isn’t religious she has discovered that the elements of her Japanese-Buddhist heritage, subconsciously inform her own philosophy.

From Asuka’s first visit to South Africa, she was exposed to the rich textiles of Africa. To Asuka, fabrics are important elements that reflect the culture, lifestyle and the living circumstances of a country and they have the potential to transform both our daily lives and the art of cultures. She was inspired by the vivid colour compositions and was fascinated by the contrast between the vividly coloured geometry of objects superimposed on tranquil backgrounds – which she describes as “quiet immobility”.

She has since been working extensively with Southern and Eastern African textiles such as Shwe-shwe, Kanga and Kitenge.  It is in the contrast between the vibrant colourful tones and the patterns that Asuka finds movement relative to the sense of tranquillity in the whole composition of the fabric – hence, the fabric has a life of its own.  Asuka explains how “African fabrics exude pleasure and respect for life through both a sense of peace and exuberant dynamism”.

Asuka’s process when she creates is complex and she has a free spirit with the brain of an art director.  She says “Sometimes my hands are creating much more interesting work than I think. In that case, only my hands will know where my works are going….. My process seeks to create art – to express a tangible version of my thoughts and emotions, often involving moving back and forth between the conscious and sub-conscious. I am always in the process of finding such a transcendental moment”.

When it comes to traditional and multi-media – Asuka likes to use both. She uses digital tools at the start to expand her analogue ideas in terms of the large-scale size that she imagines when working. Once the final image is established, “I will start to destroy and transform my idea into another thing through an analogue method . . . It is a complicated process.”

Her concepts come from “experience and memory, trauma and other times not.” Asuka believes that openness is important in art.“Whenever I see the artist’s concept, I look into how they live, what they think – I think about how they exposed themselves, to show their own scars.”

Growing up in Osaka, Japan, her parents encouraged her the opportunities to learn and expand her knowledge through various arts. Musically she learnt to play the piano and violin as well as pursuing fig- ure – skating, Japanese Calligraphy and dance from a young age. She explains that that it was through these pursuits that she learned expression and combined with her curiosity she was able to understand and master her own mind. She says “to master something is not easy and I learned that we need to analyse when we face discouragement”.

She went on to study painting and print- making at the Tokyo University of Arts and worked as a Kimono graphic designer. She thinks in many ways her experience as a Japanese Kimono graphic designer has helped her to be more skeptical and to question what is real aesthetic. The use of colour and luminosity are also very important to her and she explains that col- our gives her the confidence and feeling of freedom. She compares it to a state of the art camera for a photographer and admits her ability to manipulate colour is her strongest weapon.

A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell

This body of work involved creating a room upholstered entirely in African fabric with printed circular motifs, which for Nirasawa, symbolise the ‘cell’, a theme throughout her current practice. She used these fabrics to completely mask the walls, ceiling and floor where she proceeded to photograph 16 Bag factory artists as models with this room acting as the back-drop to her compositions.

Nirasawa then altered the photographs through a combination of painting and digitally editing images of circles and cells on to the faces, hands, and clothing of her models. This disguises the models into their surroundings, creating a sense of silent harmony within the virtual surrounding space. Thus giving us a sense of connectivity between the being and their surroundings.

Asuka Nirasawa - A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 3 2017 ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita 85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa
A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 3
2017
ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita
85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa - A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 4 2017 ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita 85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa
A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 4
2017
ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita
85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa - A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 5 2017 ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita 85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa
A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 5
2017
ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita
85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa - A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 8 2017 ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita 85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa
A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell 8
2017
ink, acrylic and pigment print on Kakita
85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Origin of Virtual Species 

The original series is comprised of 5 images each presenting a different species of animal against a back drop of a variety of sewn together textiles originating from Southern and Eastern parts of Africa. The backdrop is of a real room captured in real time in a real place. The animal is a virtual image. The skin of the animal has been physically and digitally altered, causing it to assimilate into its surroundings, similar to the series A Medium of a Requiem in a Cell.

The intertwined spatial reality and virtual being, form an augmented reality, where the boundaries between what is real and what is virtual are blurred. Referencing man-made adaption in modern society, where the demand of immersion in technology/social media, often augments and shifts our experiences of the “real.”

Asuka Nirasawa - Origin of Virtual Species 5 2017 ink, acrylic, lame glitter and pigment print on Kakita 85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa
Origin of Virtual Species 5
2017
ink, acrylic, lame glitter and pigment print on Kakita
85.5 x 106 cm (framed without glass)

Cytokinesis

For Nirasawa, these Shwe-shwe, Kanga and Kitenge and other African fabrics serve as a metaphor for the universe, cells and eternal life due to their organic circular nature. This series represents her interest in the dichotomous relationships between chaos and silence, life and death; and how they come together forming an imaginary dream scape of the ‘universe’ she seeks. The use of cells as a foundation for this universe and life itself speaks to a number of metaphysical links between us and the cosmos.

Within these works the line of sight begins with an aggregation of small circles, translucent and swollen, like cells and stars, guided to a cluster of African colours vibrating with life. Just like outer space, full of accumulative swelling energy Nirasawa uses intense colours and circular form – creating technical connections that jump in front of our eyes and form life in multifaceted ways.

Asuka Nirasawa - Cytokinesis 8 2017 Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper 59 x 31 cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cytokinesis 8
2017
Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper
44.5 x 72 cm (framed)

Asuka Nirasawa - Cytokinesis 9 2017 Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper 59 x 31 cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cytokinesis 8
2017
Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper
44.5 x 72 cm (framed)

Asuka Nirasawa - Cytokinesis 10 2017 Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper 59 x 31cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cytokinesis 10
2017
Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper
46 x 68 cm (framed without glass)

Asuka Nirasawa - Cytokinesis 11 2017 Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper 59 x 31 cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cytokinesis 11
2017
Fabric and acrylic medium on handmade paper
44 x 72.5 cm (framed without glass)

Cell Division

In progression to the concept of Cytokinesis, “cell division” expands exponentially in scale. These large scale works showcase two perspectives of a microscopic view of cells where one is of the original conglomerate of cells and is made up of thousands of dots meticulously hand-painted onto a canvas. The other, comprised of Shwe Shwe fabric that has been cut into circular shapes and placed in a collage, represents a closer, ‘zoomed in’ perspective of the original cells created through paint in the first work.

The artist found inspiration from Erwin Schrodinger’s What Is Life, 1944, Nirasawa has manifested a visual experience of Schrodinger’s concept “order-within-disorder” which communicates the chaotic nature of the biological process resulting in harmonized constructed organism in perpetual dynamism. The Cell Division series articulates this through the ever-expanding sense of cells spreading across the canvas but in a calculated manner. An interesting look into how the events in time and space occur within a living organism, such as the cells within our very being. Further unpacking Schrodinger’s writings in relation to Nirasawa’s works there lies a philosophical representation of these growing and moving cells as consciousness: a space of controlled chaos within beings, ceaselessly growing, changing and living in relation to it’s surround stimuli. Nirawasa quite aptly visually depicts this notion more refined in Schrodinger’s quote “ ‘I’ is not a collection of experienced events but namely the canvas upon which they are collected.” Each being, each “I”, a surface onto which beautiful chaos of relative consciousness lives.

Asuka Nirasawa - Cell Division, 2853 Cells 2018 fabric, acrylic medium, glitter, pencil on canvas 150 x 200 cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cell Division, 2853 Cells
2018
fabric, acrylic medium, glitter, pencil on canvas
150 x 200 cm

Asuka Nirasawa - Cell Division, 952 Cells 2018 fabric, acrylic medium, rhinestone, pencil on canvas, 150 x 200 cm

Asuka Nirasawa
Cell Division, 952 Cells
2018
fabric, acrylic medium, glitter, pencil on canvas
150 x 200 cm

First Thursday – 04/10/2018

October First Thursday - 3
October First Thursday - 1
October First Thursday - 2
October First Thursday - 4
October First Thursday - 5
October First Thursday - 6
October First Thursday - 10
October First Thursday - 11
October First Thursday - 14
October First Thursday - 15
October First Thursday - 15
2018-11-15T09:33:43+00:00