Bleddfa Centre for the Arts, Knighten, Wales, UK
Underwater lights in a gulley
Identity in place? (monograph), Cristina Crrossingham
“Bleddfa is a remote hamlet in the hills of Radnorshire, mid Wales. 'Transparent lll' 2002, commissioned by Bleddfa Centre for the Arts, was Reiko Aoyagi's first permanent installation in the landscape and forms the third in a trio of works using artificial light. In the adjacent gallery, photographic documentation of her previous work was exhibited together for the first time.
The hour of nightfall dictates the time when ‘Transparent lll’ will be visible. It is sited where the grey gravel drive curves gently to a gulley grating. The installation consists of a subterranean light source shining up towards the sky through parallel iron bars. The light rises incongruously from the darkness of the earth, a light form within. Light and dark meet in an intimate intervention with a mesmeric quality.
With sufficient rainfall, water overflow from a well on the hill above drains into the gulley on it's underground journey down the valley. This adds the sound of flowing water to the work and it's turbulence causes the light to ripple and shimmer. The work reveals the water that shapes the verdant landscape before it flows on down the valley unseen, through the veins of the body of the earth. 'Transparent lll' changes with the cycle of the seasons as rainfall influences the volume of water flow. Seasonal mist, rain and insects may reflect the light. During the twilight of the evening the light glows warm against a darkening sky, but stay until the sky reaches the depth of full darkness and the power of the work increases.
While she welcomes new contexts and formats in which to work, Reiko Aoyagi's practice has a consistency of enquiry. The principles of fluidity and change are deep convictions. Her work invariably presents a sensitised place, it may be a place of light meeting darkness or a place where interior meets exterior but always it will be a place without words, where boundaries are interrogated. She uses the phenomenon of light to articulate the perceptual field by directing the gaze, yet the light itself may not be the object of the gaze. Time is also an element in her work, in the sense that music takes time. The viewer enters a contemplative, sensate space of potential that rewards those who linger.
And the question still remains, is there a common form of communication that humanity can share? Can a phenomenological enquiry reveal the underlying universality of human experience? If we knew the answers we would not ask the questions. Aoyagi’s work is neither statement nor answer, it is a quest, an act of seeking.”