Takahiro IWASAKI<br/>
<em>Reflection model (Itsukushima)</em> (2013) <!-- (full view) --><br />
from the <i>Reflection model</i> series 2001–<br />
Cypress, adhesive<br />
(a-b) 139.0 x 783.0 x 864.0 cm (variable) (installation)<br />
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne<br />
Felton Bequest, 2014<br />
2015.77.a-b<br />
© Takahiro Iwasaki, courtesy of the artist and ANOMALY

Takahiro Iwasaki

Reflection Model (Itsukushima)

Free entry

NGV International

Level 1 Mezzanine, Asian Art temporary exhibitions

29 Apr 23 – 1 Oct 23

Takahiro Iwasaki is recognized as one of Japan’s leading contemporary artists. He creates intricately detailed models that reinterpret iconic historical buildings and contemporary Japanese cityscapes. His most acclaimed works are from the Reflection model series that focuses on Japanese sacred buildings and the reflections they cast in the water that surrounds them. Playing with this striking visual relationship, Iwasaki constructs precise three-dimensional models that are suspended in a way that combines the building with its illusionary reflection to create a single, complete form. Commissioned by the NGV in 2014, the largest work in the Reflection model series takes as its subject the Shinto shrine of Itsukushima, located on Miyajima Island in Japan’s Inland Sea.

At the time of making he wrote,
‘I have been waiting for the time when my artistic process had matured and ripened to a suitable level before embarking on such a massive and important project.’

Faced with the structural challenges of size and fragility, Iwasaki incorporates the age-old Japanese concept of ‘durability found in flexibility’ that has been crucial to creating earthquake-resistant buildings. When suspended, the fourteen parts of the sculpture nestle into each other in a way that does not lock them in place but allows the model to move without stress points and breakage. Constructed from the traditional building material of cypress wood, Iwasaki displays great attention to the expertise and ingenuity that Japanese shrine carpenters have developed over countless generations; in so doing he can be seen as a present-day practitioner and custodian of these ancient skills.