Altering Spaces, Faltering Perceptions
Installation artist Yuriko Kurimoto transforms existing spaces with architectural adjustments. Her treatments are often barely perceptible but all the more powerful for their quiet restraint. Her works encourage a new awareness of the way we experience the space around us.
‘I transform a space to create a different space using the structure, history and memory of the space’.
Altering and activating existing spaces with subtle architectural intervention, Yuriko Kurimoto is as much at home working on entire buildings as single rooms. Working away from the traditional art scene, she responds to architectural details of specific sites, not only galleries but also disused industrial factories and office spaces. Focusing on elements that define the space, her transformations appear as distillations of the particularity of a place.
In 1999 Kurimoto flooded the floor of a disused textile factory in Nagoya for the work ‘The Ground’. The building had been erected in the post-war period and its age and traditional architecture reflected the relatively small-scale, family-run business that had recently vacated the premises. Kurimoto also painted some of the walls white and deflected the light entering it so as to reflect the building’s complicated network of wooden pillars and beams and the lattices of skylights in the glassy still surface. The space appeared at once new and yet familiar.
In 2001, Kurimoto participated in the exhibition ‘New Space’ at the Oriel Mostyn gallery in Wales, which explored the new possibilities of spatial experience fostered by today’s global technologies and the daily movement of people and goods across the world. The project, supported by Visiting Arts, was curated by Reiko Aoyagi, a noted Japanese artist living in Wales and Martin Barlow, director of Oriel Mostyn.
Again working with the existing architecture in a site-specific response, Kurimoto transformed the Education Gallery at Oriel Mostyn into a space which this time created a feeling of ‘travelling a small universe’. As Barlow points out, a key component to experiencing this part of the gallery lies, ironically, not within the room itself but outside it – in the steps, which act as a barrier to many people entering the space. Kurimoto’s work, he writes takes ‘the quite simple architecture of the room itself and the relationship with the space lying outside it to create a “new” space in which the different elements combine to form a quite complex transformation.’
Despite the intricate results of Kurimoto’s modifications, her treatments are effected with such delicacy that it is often difficult to recognise how exactly she has altered any one space. For Barlow, this only heightens the impact of her work however as, he writes, ‘this opposition and unfamiliarity, when finally and fully apprehended, disturbs the even sensory framework within which architectural space is normally experienced’.
Sources include text by Martin Barlow, director of Oriel Mostyn gallery.
Yuriko Kurimoto is a visual artist who was born in 1950 in Nagoya where she currently lives and works. She has exhibited in Japan and in the UK.
Exhibition / Installation,
2001 ‘New Space’, part of Japan 2001, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
1997 ‘Looking Toward the Future’, Nagoya City Art Museum
1992 ‘The Ceiling’, Riverside Studios, London
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
(04 July 03 - 04 July 05)