Past Exhibition

Takahiro IWASAKI

"Light is made of Stars"

October 21 - December 16, 2017


Opening reception:

Saturday, October 21, 2017 18:00 - 20:00

※The gallery will exceptionally open on October 22 (Sun) due to artist talk.


Speakers: Takahiro IWASAKI (Artist), Mizuki TAKAHASHI (Co-Director, MILL6 Foundation)

October 22 (Sun), 2017 Open 15:15 / Starts 15:30

Place: T.Y. Harbor River Lounge

15:30 - 16:30 Talk

16:30 - 19:00 Stand-up Dinner Party (Buffet style dinner)

Entrance: 4,000 yen (tax included) ※Half price for people who cooperated for Venice Project 2017

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Sponsored by: Venice Project 2017 + URANO


URANO is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Takahiro Iwasaki, "Light is made of Stars," from October 21 through December 16, 2017.


Iwasaki was born in 1975 in Hiroshima Prefecture, and is currently based in Hiroshima. He creates delicate, ephemeral landscapes out of toothbrushes, towels, bookmarks, duct tape, and other common materials, undermining our fixed perspectives on these familiar everyday objects by transforming our image of them. A group of steel towers atop a cluttered pile of towels on the floor puts us in mind of the towers deep in the mountains that support power lines, while cranes standing in a forest of Japanese paperback books resemble a cluster of buildings that are still under construction. Iwasaki has also been producing a series of Reflection Model pieces: using Japanese cypress wood chips, he meticulously recreates entire scenes that combine historical buildings standing on the ground, and virtual, reflected images of them on the surface of water. These works are partially inspired by the fact that Hiroshima, the city where he was raised and is now currently based in, was destroyed in an instant by the nuclear bomb. The historical impact that this has had is quite evident: during the postwar reconstruction period, Hiroshima transformed itself completely from a military town to a city of peace.


In 2017, Iwasaki was chosen to represent Japan at the Japan Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale, where his solo exhibition "Turned Upside-Down, It’s a Forest" is currently on show. Among his other major exhibitions in recent years are "Dust (10-10) and Moment (10-18)" at the Kurumaya Art Museum in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture, "Many a Muckle Makes a Mickle" at the Kurobe City Art Museum in Toyama, and "In Focus" at the Asia Society, New York.


"Light is made of Stars"


I remember looking up once at the night sky in the town of Suzu, on the tip of the Noto Peninsula: perhaps because there was no illumination at all coming from the town, I was terrified to see these countless pricks of light that threatened to fall from the heavens.

Starlight is basically light that was emitted ages ago by distant stars that perhaps no longer exist. These were not just pentagonal shapes: they were the afterimages of stars that used to bristle intensely.

As opposed to this starlight twinkling in the night sky that resulted from nuclear fusion, I remembered that the light from a nuclear explosion above ground comes from nuclear fission.

Our lives depend indirectly on extracting energy from atoms. To put it another way: we are indirectly using these buried objects that have been converted into energy from the liquids and gases contained in the carcasses of microorganisms from the distant past. At that moment, I became aware of this massive, invisible flow and framework.

As I gazed up at the starry sky above Tokyo that can no longer be seen, I thought about how we go about our lives by building relationships with all sorts of various things, in a process of continuous change.


Takahiro Iwasak


By giving a visual form to realities that are often overlooked over the course of daily life, shifting the scale of the subject and our distance to it, Iwasaki effects a transformation in our consciousness. He was also interested in the problem of electricity early on: using his own hair, Iwasaki created a miniature replica of the large ferris wheel in Yokohama that ceased operations during the planned blackouts following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. At the same time, he also used hair to create a model of the collapsed "Yorunomori Line Electric Steel Tower No. 27," thought to be responsible for the complete loss of power at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which was exhibited at the 2011 Yokohama Triennale.


Through a selection of works at the current Venice Biennale that draw our attention to the common issues faced by marginalized regions, such as energy problems related to atomic energy and resource development and chemical factories that caused pollution even while they supported Japan's postwar period of rapid economic growth, Iwasaki presented a picture of Japan from an alternate perspective. His Out of Disorder (Offshore Model) series, which will also be on display at this exhibition, depicts the offshore platforms that mine natural gas or oil from the seafloor and the surrounding sea areas in Japan using disposable bento boxes, straws, plastic bags, and other items of plastic trash. The color of the entire installation is uniformly black, evoking the image of oil, as well as the Asian ink paintings of artists like Sesshu. The ocean scenery made of black vinyl was inspired from the "dry landscape" rock gardens at Ryōan-ji in Kyoto. This work was made at a time when the patrolling of East Asia's maritime borders, which dictate rights to underwater resources, became more conspicuous due to China's recent economic development and its policy of territorial expansion. The dry landscape garden format, on the other hand, emerged in Japan after having been influenced by Chinese gardens and ink painting.


The scaling down and bird's-eye panoramic views that are distinctive to Iwasaki's work create a sort of centrifugal force that connects a given landscape to the world at large. Viewed from the perspective of the history of this Earth, the span of our lives is truly diminutive, while small tectonic shifts in the Earth's crust continue to occur. This is the physical world that we, as living beings, thrive and dwindle in. Iwasaki's unique perspective alludes to the possibilities that open up to us when we return once again to our origins, and seek out the paths we ought to follow.


We would be grateful for any assistance you may be able to provide in publicizing this exhibition.

  • Out of Disorder (Frame)

    "Out of Disorder (Frame)"

    2017 / h.80.0 × w.100.0 × d.6.0 cm / Cloths, thread, frame / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • "Out of Disorder (Frame)"

    2017 / h.100.0 × w.150.0 × d.6.5 cm / Cloths, thread, frame / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Out of Disorder (Frame)

    "Out of Disorder (Frame)"

    2017 / h.150.0 × w.100.0 × d.6.0 cm / Cloths, thread, frame / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Tectonic Model (Kein Licht)

    "Tectonic Model (Kein Licht)"

    2017 / h.122.0 × dia.100.0 cm / Books, table / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Tectonic Model (Capote, Junnosuke Yoshiyuki, Anderson "Hyakunen bunko-Night")

    "Tectonic Model (Capote, Junnosuke Yoshiyuki, Anderson "Hyakunen bunko-Night")"

    2017 / h. 31.3 × w.13.0 × d.1.5 cm / Paperback book / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • "Out of Disorder (bush)"

    "Out of Disorder (bush)"

    2017 / h.9.5 × w.17.0 × d.1.3 cm / Toothbrush / Photo by Ichiro Mishima
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Ichiro Mishima
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Ichiro Mishima
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Ichiro Mishima
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku
  • Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    Exhibition view of "Light is made of Stars"

    2017 / URANO, Tokyo, Japan / Photo by Keizo Kioku