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Gallery 97-99, London, UK

Perspex, threaded rod and paint

Press Information, 97-99

“Reiko Aoyagi is a Japanese artist who trained and has lived in the UK for eight years. Like many expatriates she has come to draw strength and inspiration from a long-term cultural dislocation. The constant challenge of reconciling differences in sensibility and meaning inform the existentialist premises of her art. Often referred to as a minimalist on the grounds of the subtlety and discretion of her work, she prefers to characterise her intention as a containment of complexities.

The careful observation of the characteristics of a space is Aoyagi’s starting point for her engagement with a site. She proceeds from a fundamental acceptance of reality to formulate a dialectic response. She selects a particular aspect to serve as a catalyst to activate an awareness of ambience. This metonymic practice which frees the imagination through aesthetic constraint has a long tradition in Japanese culture. It allows Aoyagi to have a wide frame of reference; her dialectic associations involve time and space, artifice and nature. A crucial element in all her work is light. The strong sensual impact of her installations is driven by a Heideggerian appreciation of Being.

The gallery’s situation, secluded within a private courtyard, invites a dissociation from the public space of the street to prepare for a more intimate and personal experience that the artist wishes to communicate. The crypt-like basement rooms are left in natural semi-darkness. As one descends the steps from the courtyard with its evidence of domestic life, one prepares to transcend the boundary between life and art, from organic disorder to Apollonian purpose. Forced to slow down to adjust to the sudden change from light to darkness, one eventually discovers that in the reflective panels of darkened perspex the ambiguities of time and space continue.”