R E I K O A O Y A G I
Artspace, Sydney, Australia
Programmed laser with haze and mirror
Identity in place? (monograph), Cristina Crossingham
“In early 2001 Aoyagi spent a month in Sydney, Australia, as part of a group residency culminating in ‘Transparent l’, an installation at Artspace. Initially she explored the city, keenly aware of her Japanese sensibility. She found a European city with a distinct Aboriginal district, a strong Asian presence, a pervasive American influence and an older generation that still believe Elizabeth to be their Queen. The artists encounter with this urban collision of cultures and ethnicities, reinforced for her the question of what kind of inner place we can collectively inhabit.
With the curatorial collaboration of Artspace director Nicholas Tsoutas, Aoyagi considered the possibilities. The work was to be sited on the lower floor of the huge old warehouse with timber columns and a complex ceiling structure. Her first inclination was to use the intense daylight, but the summer sun is high in the sky over Australia and the windows were low in the building so the trajectory of the suns rays actually brought little light into the space. The resolution was to use a green beam laser. The knife of green light dissected the space, was then bent diagonally by a mirror to focus in an intense vertical strip on the facing wall. A cloud of haze swirled through the laser beam giving it an organic texture. The bustling atmosphere of the outside world would enter the contemplative space within the viewers consciousness. Aoyagi takes the pragmatic view that the use of natural or artificial light depends upon what is appropriate to each situation.”