Sawada's "air" series is his attempt to create . . . air. He intends no facetiousness. The idea was sparked from what he was taught at art school, that "sculpture is not the creation of an object, but rather the sculpting of the air surrounding that object."

There are no tools seen in the "air" series, thus deviating from the "tools" that have ever been the focus of his work. The choice of a more symbolic theme allows Sawada the leeway to take on the broader meaning of objects, namely, the "grasping" of things, and the expression of things. (That is not to say that his tools lack these motifs.)

The first work of the series is titled "air no. 1: het Labo atrium." (If you are reading this elsewhere than at the gallery, please note that het Labo atrium is an art gallery for solo exhibitions in Shinjuku, Tokyo.) In "air no. 1", an iron frame is built so as to "surround" the entire gallery, with the aim of stimulating within viewers a "re-recognition" of their inherent power to build relationships with their places and their surrounding environments.Gallery visitors become aware of this encasing framework,

and thereby perceive that their "surroundings" are in fact equivalent to their personal spaces, and that their being surrounded is an action which secures the place of their existence."air no. 1" further evokes an awareness in viewers of their inherent abilities to also keep a sense of distance and separation between their own bodies and their surroundings.

The work is finished such that it can be reassembled and set up at other sites, and not just at this one site only. het Labo atrium visitors themselves encounter other spaces, as well as exposure to the open air. The experiencing of "air no. 1" in some of these other, sometimes gigantic spaces, would then foster an experience of the huge scale of this work.

Sawada's first exhibition, and now this re-exhibition, have provided him grateful opportunities to grope with the teaching of his beloved Teacher, the challenge to "create air."

Translated by Robert Plautz


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© 2016 Masaya Sawada