s o s h i n g u

a d o r n m e n t

f o rt h eb o d y 

Artwork / Design © Yuri Kawanabe
Photo © Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 1999
(Photographer: Marinco Kojdanovski)
Courtesy the Powerhouse Museum Collection and the artist
Powerhouse Museum Object No. L3371/1
* Photo © Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 1999


I have a fascination with form which expresses ģmovementī, which captures the ģmomentī of movement. It is very important to me that the process of the change involved in the formation of a work has to be visible in the end result. When a flat sheet of metal is turned into a 3D shape based on my paper model, I like that viewers can read the trace of the transformation in the form. I would like to present a kind of ģinstant transformationī of the form or in other words to present the entire metamorphosis in one shape.

The aesthetic with which I am obsessed came perhaps from my childhood. The sense of excitement and satisfaction that I feel when I am working with paper models is related to the feeling that I remember when I was helping my father to make Japanese New Yearķs decorations, or some other ceremonial decorations when I was small. Also I remember that I never grew tired of watching local men and women making ceremonial decorations with simple materials like bamboo, straw, and paper with incredibly skilled hands, moving around just as in a magic trick to create the most beautiful things within minutes.

These simple craft techniques and methods of creation were developed within local communities to decorate ceremonial and festive sites. These crafts could effectively turn an ordinary village place into an wondrous space where people feel closer to their gods.

Such special decorated environments exist only for a short time. The transition happens very quickly, the decoration goes up suddenly and itķs taken down immediately after the occasion. This extraordinary moment is more appreciated if it lasts only for a limited time. This is the basis of what I call ģephemeral aestheticsī, wherein we long to see and marvel at short-lived beauty. I believe this is a fundamental human desire.

Jewellery, on the other hand, is based on the human dream of creating an absolute, eternal beauty. Jewellery is conventionally a form of body adornment using stable, long lasting and beautiful metals like gold, combined with rarely found radiant gems.

In my work, I combine these two approaches. I try to visualise ephemeral forms in a more durable way by using metal, at the same time containing or capturing the power of transition.

Yuri Kawanabe

* Photographer Marinco Kojdanovski. Photograph ourtesy the Powerhouse Museum Collection and the artist


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