Utsurohi 91

Commissioned by Henry T. Segerstrom, this dynamic sculpture consists of a series of twelve ten-foot columns set in an elliptical configuration with chromium-plated steel “threads” intertwining in graceful patterns from the top of each column.

On the interior surface of each column, a small rough-surfaced rectangle displays a glossy relief image of one of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. Each animal is identified in both Latin and Chinese. In this quiet and subtle piece, there is a hint of the poetic states of the moods of nature. Utsurohi loosely translates to “swift change,” or “transience.”  Miyawaki’s work suggests an investigation of philosophical and metaphysical relations between time, space, existence, and eternity, while also focusing on themes related to the alchemy of Mahayana Buddhism.

Aiko Miyawaki  (1929-2014) was born in Tokyo, Japan. Although she was trained in the formal cultural traditions of Japan, practicing the koto (traditional stringed instrument of Japan) and the art of Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) she found her way out of those conventions, developing her unique contemporary practice in the context of postwar Japan. She studied the history of medieval Japanese art during her days as a student and later, during the 1960s, joined the School of Metaphysics, also known as Keijij Gakuha—a Japanese art movement that developed from Western conceptual art. As her artistic style developed, Miyawaki kept in contact with the avant-garde of Milan, Paris, and New York.

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