“Craft is not just about the concrete physical results of the final product, but it is also about the process, the ephemerality of the mediums that we use in the process” – Albert Yonathan Setyawan
Shown for the first time after its debut in Japan at the major exhibition of Southeast Asian art “SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now” at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, is the 10 x 4.5 meter wall installation of Helios (2017) by Albert Yonathan Setyawan. Taking its title from the Sun god of Greek mythology, Helios is the artist's largest-scale artwork to date. Comprising of over 2,000 ceramic pieces in the
shape of a flower and a seraph, these symbolic objects are arranged in modules of patterned configuration and fill an entire wall of the gallery space.
Helios is an exemplary work of Albert's practice who for years spent consumed in a material so closely connected with the idea of nature. Clay, a fundamental ingredient behind ceramic, centers the artists' practice. Solid but brittle when fired and malleable but soluble when left unfired – these transitory moments of the material hold their value precisely because of their transience and impermanence. Whether it is mould-casted or handbuilt, the surface of each clay piece reveals a delicate intricacy and attention into its craftsmanship: a freeing process driven by mediation and repetition where he experiences an extension beyond his own subjectivity at the present moment.
“All things change, and the world remains the world.” – Miyanaga Aiko
Known for her installation using materials such as salt and especially objects made with naphthalene into the shape of daily commodities, Miyanaga Aiko visualizes time by tracing signs of its presence. In recent years, Miyanaga’s prolific activities both within Japan and overseas have confirmed her position as one of Japan’s most promising artists, and her practice invites us to expect even greater achievements of the next generation of Japanese contemporary art on the international stage.
This exhibition features life, her most recent series of several suspended transparent paintings, each contains within it countless air bubbles. According to the artist, each individual bubble was sealed into the work little by little, reflecting within it the landscapes of each passing day. It is as if each transparent canvas quietly holds within it, like trace fossils, the presence of various days of our own spent time – the air that we have breathed.