Rie Nakajima: Air Recycle

16 May - 6 July 2024

Performance: Saturday 1st June, 3pm

at Annely Juda Fine Art, no booking required


Annely Juda Fine Art is delighted to present the work of Rie Nakajima from 16 May – 6 July 2024. Nakajima is a sculptor and collaborative artist fusing sculpture, music and sound performance, and installations. Everyday items and found paraphernalia are combined and activated by small motorised devices and movement, triggering various components’ sound potential.


“A form appears at a certain time and disappears at a certain time. In the process of its appearing, the outside world becomes a little more tactile. Sounds, tastes, memories, stories, etc are moving back and forth between insides and outsides of myself, then gradually a certain form gets shaped, that could be sudden sometimes. After it simply fades away, disappears, then an impression of the experience remains. This impression could also have its time and form.... I think music and sculpture for me are the flow of these.”


Air Recycle is a unique installation created by Nakajima on our 3rd floor gallery space specifically for this exhibition. Her working process is intuitive and improvised with different objects taking on their own characteristics, often randomly, and in reaction to each other. In her works, Nakajima incorporates many found and reclaimed materials including paper tubes, buttons, strings, tin, sticks, bicycle tubes, lids and jars, steel wire and electronics to power them. She envisages motors rotating papers, scratching walls and hitting steel wire, others rotating metal sticks that ring against bottles, pencils and sticks that hit and draw on walls or objects with fast, slow and soft movements. The direction and nature of the work is not pre-determined but sound is always a key element in responding to the space and interactions of her materials. Whether these compositions are across the floor, wall-mounted or freestanding, Nakajima’s installations spontaneously emerge, comprising a multitude of individual yet connected components.


Nakajima refers to her work as both sculpture and music, both are central elements in her work with some projects focussing more on music and sound art and others more on sculptural pieces. In 2023, Nakajima performed with Pierre Berthet in Milly-la-Forêt in France, on the site of Jean Tinguely’s sculpture Le Cyclop. “I don’t care much for what is art or music... It’s just a situation. If I’m in a musical context – a concert or festival – I gather information from my past and try to make something more interesting than before”.  Nakajima sees her work in terms of accumulated knowledge that is collected over time with improvisation being an opportunity for this knowledge to express itself.


As part of the quartet O YAMA O, Nakajima has performed frequently at Café Oto - an East
London venue synonymous with experimental music and sound art - with its co-founder Keiko Yamamoto whom she met at Chelsea College of Arts. O YAMA O’s improvised performances combine Yamamoto’s singing – touching on subjects derived from Japanese folklore and domestic life – with Nakajima’s kinetic objects. Nakajima summons delicate textures out of her objects, slowly shaping the music into what appears to be a choreographed crescendo but is in essence a largely improvised ritual.


In his essay ‘Trembling Between States: Rie Nakajima”, David Toop, another collaborator of Nakajima, writes: “Where we listen; how we listen. These two elements form a sculptural reality in relation to the object of sounding. The object of sounding is indifferent. There is its place in a room but when listening begins there is no object, no room - only the sculptural reality created by the listener.”


Rie Nakajima studied at Tokyo University of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Aesthetics and Art History Department in 2000, then in London at Chelsea College of Arts BA in Fine Arts in 2002 at Chelsea College of Arts in London, and an MFA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Art in 2007.


Her first major solo exhibition was held at IKON Gallery in Birmingham in 2018. She has also worked with Museo Vostell Malpartida (Cáceres), Association de Le Cyclop (Milly la Forêt), ShugoArts (Tokyo), Donaueschinger Music Festival (Donaueschinger), and Cafe OTO (London). Her collaborations have included working with Pierre Berthet, David Cunningham, Keiko Yamamoto, Miki Yui, Hans.W.Koch, Marie Roux, Akio Suzuki + Aki Onda Billy Steiger, David Toop and Akira Sakata amongst others. Public Gallery projects and exhibitions have included Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Embassy of Belgium and Hara Museum, Tokyo; Kunsthaus Wiesbaden, Germany; Serpentine Gallery, Tate, Camden Art Centre, Southbank Gallery, London. She has also contributed to multi-media collaborative works online including music and video.