On March 11, 2011, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history struck just over 80 miles off the coast of the island of Honshu. An ensuing tsunami produced monstrous waves up to 40 meters high that pummeled the coastline and caused numerous deaths, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents homeless and crippling the country’s infrastructure. Artist Keita Miyazaki witnessed the devastation firsthand, and as access to everyday necessities and supplies was disrupted, he began to question Western society’s reliance on industry and material goods, as well as how the contemporary world measures its progress.
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In his solo exhibition Excess of Desire at Gallery Rosenfeld, Miyazaki’s sculptures appear to grow from the floor or sprout from pedestals. Metal components meet intricate origami, exploring the dualities of robustness and fragility, the decorative and the utilitarian, and heaviness and lightness. The ends of pipes blossom with colorful fans and spindles of folded paper, juxtaposed with car parts in a reference to the 20th-century automotive boom and advancing technology.
Miyazaki articulates ideas around functionality and decay by welding together fragments of mufflers and engines that no longer operate for their intended purposes. He incorporates carefully selected parts, such as specialized mufflers that were produced illegally in the 1980s and 1990s, which rose to popularity because they could increase the car’s noise level and produce a specific sound. Challenging the frivolity of excess in wealthy society, the artist reframes the components as flourishing, botanical-like forms.
The Victoria and Albert Museum recently added one of the Miyazaki’s pieces to its Japanese collection, and one of his large-scale floor works will soon be on display at the Young V&A in Bethnal Green. Excess of Desire remains on view through September 30, and you can follow the artist on Instagram for updates.
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