Toshiko Nishikawa: Senbazuru

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So I got invited to this thing - which I can't go to - but it sounds pretty damn cool so I wanted to make sure and post up about it here - because unlike me - you may actually be able to go.

At Senbazuru, a new interactive installation by Toshiko Nishikawa, viewers are drawn to gaze at a world within a world. Debuting October 29, 2010, at the Vilcek Foundation Gallery in New York City, visitors to the exhibit will be met by 1,000 small mirrored orbs, enticingly and purposefully suspended within reach from the gallery ceiling, where they form a reflective web. 
Japanese-born Nishikawa was inspired by a dream she had to create a microcosmic representation of the world. Senbazuru is that dream come true. Each of the 1,000 orbs is connected to those around it, and by peering into the concave mirror contained within each orb, visitors not only see themselves, but become linked to those standing nearby, who are reflected in neighboring orbs. In this way, visitors gain insight into their own tiny universe and inner life, while recognizing themselves as connected to the global community, a concept representative of Ms. Nishikawa's sensibilities as an artist and human being. 

Reflecting on this unique and groundbreaking exhibition, Rick Kinsel, Vilcek Foundation Executive Director, said, "We all can benefit, from time to time, by getting a look at ourselves from a new perspective -- the way it feels when we turn a corner and unexpectedly are met with our own image in a storefront window. That remarkable sensation is magnified hundreds of times over when revolving around and with Toshiko's fascinating creation."

As Ms. Nishikawa explains this exhibition offers a way to see oneself in 1,000 different ways (senbazuru is Japanese for 1,000 origami cranes and refers to a prayer for others' health and happiness). It is also, in part, a commentary on her own immigration experience. When living in Japan (she was born in Yokohama), this peace-loving and community-minded artist says she saw herself in only one particular way. But after moving to the US, and ultimately New York City, where she now lives and works, she began to see herself in 1,000 different ways, as someone connected not just to every other person, but to every living organism around her. She also became aware of her own inner beauty, as well as the beauty that exists in nature and in those around her. This awakening now manifests throughout Ms. Nishikawa's work and informs many of her decisions as an artist.
Check out more down at the Vilcek Foundation.