Miya Ando at Venice Biennale
Miya Ando’s large-scale installation featured in the 56th Venice Biennale’s “Frontiers Reimagined” Exhibiton, Museo di Palazzo Grimani. On view May 9, 2015 – November 22, 2015.
Artwork title: “Emptiness The Sky” Shou Sugi Ban
Size: 84x84x84 Inches
Medium: Charred Wood, metal paintings
Miya Ando’s “Emptiness The Sky” (Shou Sugi Ban) is a free-standing room clad on the outside walls with Shou Sugi Ban, a charred wood which is used in construction in Okayama, Japan where the artist spent time as a child. The houses in her neighborhood, including the Buddhist temple where she lived was clad in Shou Sugi Ban wood. It is believed that Shou Sugi Ban charred wood prevents fires, as the charred wood is less flammable than regular timber. The artist also lived amongst redwood trees in Santa Cruz, California for a portion of her childhood and played in a tree-house that was inside of a 300 foot tall Redwood Tree which had been struck by lightening and was charred in a very similar manner as the Shou Sugi Ban. The inside of the Shou Sugi Ban installation is covered in wall to ceiling paintings on metal, creating an immersive environment. The 84x 84x 84 inch structure is inspired by traditional Japanese tea rooms (Chashitsu) and is a space informed by memory and quietude.
Excerpt from Lori Zimmer essay: “In Ando’s traditional metal canvases, viewers can experience her meditative calm by standing before them, hung on a gallery’s wall. ‘Emptiness The Sky’ (Shou Sugi Ban) invites viewers to feel tranquility on the next level, from the inside out. The piece, a fusion of inspirations of Japanese tea rooms and a childhood tree house inside a charred redwood tree, is a respite from the art world bubble, a private chamber to give oneself over to the transformative calm of fields of metal and pigment. Like being immersed inside the contemplative plane of one of her paintings, viewers can lose themselves, blurring the lines of where their consciousness ends and Ando’s paintings begin.”
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Photo Portrait credit: Roy Ritchie for ‘Emptiness The Sky’ (Shou Sugi Ban) book by Miya Ando