It is incredible how Japanese artist Yasuaki Onishi has created masterpieces around the subject of ‘volume’ or lack of it – in other words ’empty space.’ On March 16, I found my way to Vida Downtown Dubai to view ‘Reverse Volume,’ Onishi’s installation of what seemed like a translucent carpet of clouds wafting through the air of the central part of the hotel. The installation initiative was in partnership with the Mine Gallery based in Al Quoz. What attracted me to see this installation is the fact that Onishi uses basic materials to create magical ideas. All he used was plastic sheets and black glue – both easily available materials. The visit to ‘Reverse Volume’ triggered my visit to the Mine Gallery itself to see the artist’s ‘Vertical Volume’ installation.
Onishi’s Reverse Volume at Vida Downtown Dubai
The unveiling of the Reverse Volume took place at the time when Art Dubai, Dubai Design Days and Sikka Art Fair were running – a perfect time, it seemed, for art aficionados and enthusiasts to witness art in its various curiosities in different settings around town. For sure, promoting art in hotels is becoming a trend so that visitors can be enraptured by art in the confines of the hotel.
If you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop, you will know that there is a button called ‘select inverse’ which actually makes it possible to capture negative space. Onishi’s preoccupation to capture the same has resulted in his art. I caught up with the artist at Vida Downtown Dubai to find out a bit more about how it all came together. Onishi said, “I took many cartoon boxes and arranged them to the effect of a mountainous terrain. I lined them with plastic sheets and then the black hot glue and I got to work. In fact if you can see, the sheets are actually held by the hot glue as it dangles from the hotel’s ceiling.” This was true. The black hot glue, when hardened, must have hardy quality to withstand the duress of gravity and the floating plastic sheets. It’s almost as if the artist is defying gravity by going ‘negative.’
The beauty of ‘Reverse Volume’ is that when viewed from different perspectives, it speaks to the senses in a dreamy way. It’s almost as if I had found my ground when I stood under the ‘Reverse Volume’ as I felt protected by the hazy ‘angels wings.’ It’s akin to the taste of mindful meditation – where you emerge as a changed person as the ‘Reverse Volume’ opens your eyes into the another dimension.
I asked Onishi about his paintings displayed on the wall. This was part of his experimentation using hot glue, but the effect on a ‘canvas’ wasn’t the same as he what he had achieved in the 3D installation. In any case, I loved the texture of the paintings – a reminder of concrete and glass mixed together on a construction site.
My footsteps led me to the Mind Gallery to see more of Onishi’s work.
Onto Vertical Volume by Onishi at Mine Gallery
I had already seen an insta-video of the ‘Vertical Volume’ on the Mine Gallery instagram feed -these magnanimous plastic transparent barrels getting filled with air and moving up and down – a reminder of our lungs in a way. Upon entering the Mine Gallery, I was greeted by these huge barrels. Each one got inflated with air and took its own time to ascend to the ceiling before deflating and descending. Thing of a glass elevator moving up to the top most level of a high hotel. Somewhere in the sculpture, I am almost certain that Onishi has applied mathematics to art as the multiple barrels expand and contract in total harmony, giving respect to each other’s space.
Other sculptures and paintings using the hot glue technique were also on display at the Mine Gallery. The exhibition goes on till the end of April 2016 at the Mine Gallery. More details are here. www.TheMine.ae
More about the artist: Yasuaki Onishi
Link to CurlyWurly Photography website