Introduction to Asuka Nirasawa, Artist-in-Residence (2017)
EXHIBITION EXTENSION I Until 14 September I Asuka Nirasawa's MULTIFINITY —Southern African aesthetics deconstructed and rematerialised through a Japanese sensibility.
Posted by David Krut Projects Cape Town on Wednesday, May 24, 2017
David Krut Projects Cape Town (DKCT) is pleased to present Asuka Nirasawa’s residency showcase MULTIFINITY, a series of mixed media works on paper and canvas, and an installation piece created during a one month residency at DKCT. The showcase will run from 30 May – 14 September 2017 at the Montebello Design Centre (MDC).
Textiles have the ability to reflect the emotional experience in our daily lives thus providing a medium for creative artistic freedom. In August 2016 whilst in residency at the BAG Factory in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, Nirasawa began working with Southern and East African textiles such as Shwe-shwe, Kanga and Kitenge in her artistic practice. Nirasawa was inspired by the vivid colour compositions in many of the textiles she explored and the contrast between the straight lines and areas of what she phrases as “quiet immobility”. The artist is intrigued by the versatility implicit in fabrics. Nirasawa finds the fabrics to have a practical and emotive quality that can be used to transform our daily lives either through interior decoration or through fashionable design in clothing. Nirasawa’s works are filled with energy and metaphors, every element replete with meaning. Her paintings, mixed media and installation works offer glimpses of a vivid imagination, one that is innocent and yet sometimes grotesque and radical, living in chaos harbouring an alluring story waiting to be told.
Through using fabric in artistic production, Nirasawa has the ability to reflect diversity within culture- as with the name Shwe-Shwe being derived from that of King Moeshoeshoe I of Lesotho. Further to this, Nirasawa is creating what she terms a chaotic universe, which represents the adoration of life and death within an aspirational dream scene of the universe she seeks. This concept is particularly inspired by living in India for a year. The artist reflects on this experience articulating that, “the great weight of five thousand years of history showed me human dignity, spellbinding beauty, religion and poverty.” These are issues that she found to be surprisingly universal. Nirasawa has created this concept through the use of circular shapes.
For the artist, the use of multiple circles acts as a metaphor for the universe, cells and eternal life. They also inspire the cycle of life and death that arises from the notion of reincarnation, in which after death the cycle of life repeats. Added to her use of circular fabric collages, Nirasawa meticulously applies circular dots onto the surface of her creations resulting in a series of organic domes, an extension to the circular metaphor. It is through these circular fabric collages and installation- created in her residency- that Nirasawa constructed this ‘chaotic universe’, evolving into an eternity of repetitive cells.
Notes from the artist:
Within MULTIFINITY, Nirasawa explores the obscure parts of reality, going beyond our general sense and cognition. It is through this new body of work that she delves into the complex mechanics, forms, and MULTIFINITY, Nirasawa explores the obscure parts of reality, going beyond our general sense and cognition. It is through this new body of work that she delves into the complex mechanics, forms, and colours of particles, microscopic worlds and the universe in general. Nirasawa explains how exploring these worlds assists one to escape from the threat of a monotonous and often dull world that can exist in daily life. These monotonous moments bring out areas of our subconscious and confront us with our pasts, regrets, and fears. By exploring hidden microscopic worlds Nirasawa’s works aim to release us from those monotonous moments.
Nirasawa has always been fascinated by animal and human anatomy, especially at a microscopic and cellular level. At first glance, these cellular forms, with their vivid colours and structures are fantastical and ruthlessly efficient in nature; converting matter into energy and obeying the irresistible chaotic universe. People invent a large part of their lives simply to avoid self-reflection. By entering into a scientifically verified unseen microscopic world, it allows for people to escape their daily reality; entering into a biologically generated fantasy fiction.
It is through the versatile medium of Southern and East African fabrics that she is able to create these biological fantasy fiction scenes. Each collage is made up of circular fabrics patterns representing microscopic cells and life cycles. The cells within the collages and in nature aggregate in a seemingly chaotic sequence. However, Nirasawa methodically orders these sequences, stabilising the chaos. To further emphasise the circular metaphor, Nirasawa meticulously applies circular dots to the surface of the fabrics resulting in a series of dome shapes across the collage that gives the works a more organic appearance. It is through the collages and installation that Nirasawa creates a means of escape for viewers, into a more colourful reality, an escape from the monotony.
Written by Elize de Beer
It is an honour to invite you to the opening of Asuka Nirasawa’s residency showcase on Tuesday 30 May, 6:30pm. Please join us for the unveiling of this talented artist’s work.
For pricing and availability, media enquiries and high-res images, please contact
Elize de Beer on [email protected] / 021 685 0676