photo: TOYONAGA Seiji, courtesy: Mizuma Art Gallery

waiting for awakening -chair

Material/ Techniquenaphthalene, resin, mixed media
Size/ DurationH110×W67.9×D55.8cm
Copyright Notice© MIYANAGA Aiko
Year of acquisition/ donation2014
DescriptionBorn in Kyoto, Japan in 1974. Lives and works in Kanagawa.

Miyanaga Aiko first graduated in sculpture from the Faculty of Art and Design of Kyoto University of Art and Design and then entered the Graduate School of Fine Arts at the Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in Intermedia Art and receiving a master’s degree in 2008. She received the 22nd Prize for Art from the Gotoh Memorial Foundation in 2011 and the first grand prize of Nissan Art Award in 2013. She expresses reflections on time and memory in objects made of ephemeral materials like naphthalene and salt. Her works give visual form to these elusive mental phenomena through skillful use of natural transformative processes like sublimation and evaporation.

A white chair floats in a resin cube. It has been formed of naphthalene and its original owner is unknown. Naphthalene, one of the main ingredients of mothballs, is a substance that slowly changes from solid to gas at normal temperature and pressure. Since Miyanaga finished college, she has made a wide variety of forms with naphthalene. Most of them are ordinary objects like shoes, keys, handbags, watches, and shirts that people commonly use in everyday life and are closely related to the memories and time experienced by individuals. The chair in "waiting for awakening – chair" was once made warm by someone’s body. The silent form of the chair makes memory visible and the faint white presence of the naphthalene makes us vividly aware that the former owner is absent. If the small seal that appears at the base of the chair is removed, air enters through the hole and stopped time begins to move again. As a result, the material of the chair gradually erodes away as it is sublimated. The passage of time appears through the disappearance of material form. Through this seemingly paradoxical transformation, we are made to realize that time moves only in one direction and never returns to the point of origin.