Nobuhiro Nakanishi creates layered landscapes using photography on acrylic sheets. I went to see his show and was blown away by the whole experience of it, reminded me very much of the Japanese scrolls but in an updated way. A Japanese artist would walk through the garden and then paint the experience of that walk onto a rectangular scroll – when viewing them it very much has that feel, how there is no one focal point but many that you could choose to pay attention to. More writing on that here. Nakanishi has managed to keep that effect in his installations, involving the viewer as much as the art work. Here is some writting about him that I couldn’t put better myself:
‘All of Nobuhiro Nakanishi‘s work is about observing and understanding an object and giving it a new abstract, material body. The artistic process is a sculpting experience that is closely connected with the human figure and the perception of our surroundings. Sculpture is defined by the thought, awareness and method it employs; it is the way we perceive the world.
When we look at a work of art, the act of physical transposition becomes important as we put ourselves in the artist‘s position and empathize. Looking at a figurative sculpture transposes us into the represented body and mind, while the chisel marks allow us to imagine the power and emotions of the sculptor. From both the artist and viewer‘s perspective, the act of looking is also about searching for a place into which we can transpose ourselves.
This is not restricted to sculpture and drawings of the human body. We can also experience physical transposition and expansion in space. For example, on a foggy morning, contours, distance and horizons become ambiguous. Vapor permeates the landscape, covering the entire distance between the faraway mountain range and our retina. Cold air stimulates the pores on our skin and enters deep into our eyes, nose and mouth, forcing us to feel the inside of our bodies and blurring the boundaries between internal and external worlds. Inside this landscape, our bodies begin to melt into space, like the fragment of something faintly visible through the vapor. Instead of transposing into something concrete, our bodies transpose into the vague, organ-like existence of space.
Through such visual and tactile experiences, there is no limit to what our vision may encounter. With awareness for detail, as well as the ability to see the whole, we are conscious of the mass bulging within the surrounding space. Cognizant of the other side that we are never able to see, we simultaneously fill in what we can and cannot see.
This is not about simply looking at something. It is about maximizing the use of our nerves, memory and sense of touch to their fullest, about using our entire body as an organ to perceive. Matter remains as evidence of the intermediary action between the artist and the viewer, and the sculpting experience becomes only a physical memory.’
‘The theme of my work is “the physical that permeates into the art piece.” In a foggy landscape, we no longer see what we are usually able to see – the distance to the traffic light, the silhouette of the trees, the slope of the ground. Silhouettes, distance and horizontal sense all become vague. When we perceive this vagueness, the water inside the retina and skin dissolve outwardly toward the infinite space of the body surface. The landscape continues to flow, withholding us from grasping anything solid. By capturing spatial change and the infinite flow of time, I strive to produce art that creates movement between the artwork itself and the viewer’s experience of the artwork.’