4th Floor Gallery
18 September–24 October 2009
In this new exhibition Yuko Shiraishi has created a visionary architectural installation which draws on numerous contemporary, topical themes: space exploration, scientific endeavour, human relationships, tradition and modernity. Shiraishi has built a ‘Space Elevator Japanese Tea Room’.
Made from stainless steel tubes and plexiglass the construction is a skeletal ghost building – replicating the form of an early 17th-century traditional Japanese Tea House but also posing as a vehicle into space. Inspiration for the project came from Arthur C Clarke’s novel Fountains of Paradise in which the transportation of people and objects into space is made possible on a rigid metal ribbon. (NASA scientists are currently seriously considering space elevators as a mass-transit system for the next century.)
Shiraishi has extended the idea to incorporate architecture and so to consider the relationship between humanity and space – between Japanese tradition and Western science. The darkened room with lighting beneath the tea house has a profound atmosphere of contemplation and possibility. A further room in the gallery provides a explanation about the project with a maquette and books for reference about the concept and potential of this visionary project.
Alongside the installation in the main gallery space Shiraishi is showing a group of 8 large new paintings. Known for her abstract paintings with remarkable but balanced use of colour the new works have an especially painterly quality. Measured horizontal lines of colour compliment background washes – forceful minimalism with lyrical depth.