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Spatial Sculpture in Karuizawa

The mobile spatial composition “Gisant/Transi” in the Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Japan, occupies a place between architecture and art. The architect and artist who created this work were inspired by a late-medieval form of tomb figure found in western Europe, in which the dead are depicted in a living state (gisant) or in a state of decay (transi). Translated into a mobile, geometric form, this representation of life and death manifests itself as two “vectors” (memory and foresight) which cross each other. The four elements that make up this object are on rollers and are connected by hinges. By rotating the individual parts, the spatial arrangement can be changed. A wire mesh fixed to the timber supporting structure serves as a reinforcing layer for the black-coloured plaster, lending the surface a distinct rough texture.

“Two objects are set next to each other here with half-open, half-closed spaces. One is too transparent to be called a ‘cage’. The other has a light well and is too bright to be called a ‘cell’. Be that as it may, they are sleeping platforms on which the human body can lie down. At the same time, both are bent at the centre, so that the clefts between the two meet to form a single mouth. As the mouth grows larger or smaller, the two spaces are mingled. Physical space assumes the function of sensitive nostrils that inhale the surroundings. With the bending movement, the mouth vanishes at the maximum point of opening, and another set of bedsline up – beds for a night of half-sleep.” (Hiroshi Nakao).

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 8/2001

Experimental Building

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