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House of Art, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Strip lights individually controlled by computer to vary slowly in intensity and sequence

Reiko Aoyagi/ Philippa Lawrence (catalogue)

Introduction, Michal Skoda

“Reiko Aoyage’s first exhibition in the Czech Republic was preceded by two visits to Ceske Budejovice, during which she was strongly influenced by the rectangular space of the central square, choosing it as an element in her light installation in which space is transformed into dematerialised space. A stream of light flows freely out of the gallery’s confines and fulfils a vision of space without walls or boundaries, opening itself to both outer and inner space.”

Statement, Reiko Aoyagi

“I have long been interested in exploring how people who are culturally and individually different, can communicate with each other in our complex contemporary life. The location, education and language in which a person is born and grows up, forms their feeling, thinking and every aspect of life. This naturally acquired culture remains deeply embedded in every individual.

However, through the recent development of communication technology and transport, the chance to encounter different cultures has greatly increased. When we situate ourselves in different cultures, the shell of our own culture is broken and we encounter our inner self hidden beneath. The inner self I am thinking of is not related to the identities of nationality, race or religion but has more in common with the fundamental energy of the classical natural elements of air, fire, earth and water. I sense that this fundamental energy exists within both the human spirit and natural elements. Each element in nature has its own unique quality and energy which are independent and at the same time interdependent. I also apply this notion to our human relationships because we embody these natural elements. People know they are independent and individual and yet at the same time everyone needs to relate to others in society. Although the notion of individuality / independence and group sensibility / coexistence seem to be opposed ideas, I am interested in the relationship between those polarities.

I have been using both natural and artificial light as a material in my work because all life is supported by light, it is our life force and I use it to signify primary energy. I have also in a sense, used architectural spaces and the environment as “materials” with cultural reference. These I regard as “living materials” which often indicate directly how people think, feel and live.

In my search for a potential dialogue, I transform spaces or places to create a new fluid space filled with the fundamental elemental energies. In these spaces I see a possibility for people who may be present to transmit their energy between each other and the elements.”