Dust to dust

Takahiro Iwasaki, Out of Disorder, 2011; Cornerhouse Manchester (image: WeAreTape)

Takahiro Iwasaki, Out of Disorder (hair), 2011

It was a random conversation about the Cornerhouse in Manchester that reminded me about Takahiro Iwasaki’s work, which I saw there last year in the exhibition Constellations, and as some of it involves the use of hair this seems like as good a time to write about it as any what with hair being my preoccupation of the week. It was noticing that Constellations included the work of Katie Paterson and Felix Gonzalez-Torres that put it firmly on my list of things I needed to see during a very brief trip to Manchester last summer and though they didn’t disappoint, it was Iwasaki’s work that charmed me the most when I got there. Out of Disorder is a tiny, fragile world of constructions made of and emerging from the stuff of our daily lives. In some cases the stuff in question is dust and hair found in the space which become mountains and pylons.

Out of Disorder (towels), 2011

The world Iwasaki represents is one where mountains are soft and impermanent and man-made structures are almost too delicate to exist. The simplest reading of the work is as a reminder that the earth is in our care but somehow, though the scale and intricacy of the structures almost makes this seem like the sort of art that makes it into the pages of the Metro, Iwasaki avoids the pitfalls of earnest cliché.

Out of Disorder (pencil lead), 2011

In part, I think, it’s down to the scale of the thing. The works occupy the gallery floor, using the emptiness of the space to reinforce the sense of fragility. Or is it just that – as has been documented here before – I’m a bit of a sucker for an (almost) empty gallery? Either way, this was a body of work that felt distinctly more substantial than the materials it was made from. The use of everyday materials isn’t new, of course, nor is the idea of soft sculpture; it’s the touching vulnerability of these tiny structures and their matter of fact positioning in the space that won me over.

Out of Disorder (hair), 2011

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