Keita Miyazaki, a young Japanese artist, works on creating sculpture series and installations which evoke a sense of the post-apocalyptic. He is an artist exploring the supposedly polar notions of orderliness and fantasy. His installations select materials for their capacity to suggest ambiguity: traditional like metal, light and fragile like paper, invisible like sound. These juxtaposing techniques avoid concrete description, instead suspending forms in a state of uncertainty.
This sculptural series arises from Miyazaki’s observations of modern society. Focusing on the disasters and crises that man-made constructs can bring about (taking the recent global financial crisis and the nuclear meltdown after the Tohoku disaster in 2011 as two examples), Miyazaki started creating a surreal mix of dystopia and utopia in his work. In recent years, Miyazaki has created sculptures in which he employed parts of a second-hand car welded together and covered with a cocoon of paper. The assemblage releases sounds which the artist likens to colours, so his work does not reflect or describe what we see, but instead infuses it with the healthy paradoxes of reality.
For Miyazaki, the car is a symbol of global capitalism that represents the tenets of modernity such as industrial progress and mass production. Meanwhile, the scrap metals used in his works evoke a sense of destruction in the mind of the audience. To contrast with machinery, colourful flowers made of paper and felt bloom from the car parts. The botanical elements represent rebirth and the continuation of life. The auditory element also plays a crucial role in his works, as the collected sounds of city life come out from speakers concealed in the flowers and expand the territory of the post-apocalyptic world. Installing a variety of sculptures in the two galleries, Miyazaki explores the relationship between the audience and the sculptures by depicting a complexity of visual and audio illusions in a space where reality and fantasy converge and stimulate the audience’s imagination into envisaging a future world.
Richard Wentworth, former Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, joined Miyazaki for this talk.
About the contributors
Keita Miyazaki lives and works in Tokyo and London. He has an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art (2013) and a PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts (2015). He has exhibited in various solo and group shows including ‘Excursion’, Ai Gallery, Tokyo (2008), ‘Layer’, B – gallery, Tokyo (2009), ‘Binabi Exhibition’, Mori Arts Centre Gallery, Tokyo (2010), ‘Void Open Call 2013′, Void Art Gallery, London (2013), ‘sound and vision’, rosenfeldporcini gallery, London (2014), ‘Art International By the Waterside’, Istanbul (2014) and many more. He received The Government of Tokyo Prize (2007) and Ataka Prize, Tokyo University of the Arts (2008).
Richard Wentworth (born 1947) is a British artist, curator and teacher, and served as Professor of Sculpture at The Royal College of Art, London from 2009–11. Wentworth was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to art.