During my artist research into landscape, preservation and nostalgia I came across Tokyo born, New York based artist Naoko Ito and her pieces which were included in an exhibition at CAM Raleigh, New York in 2011 called Urban Nature. In this work Ito explored the themes of how nature is presented in urban areas, how a society with limited access to the wild view nature and how they find ways of preserving or containing it within an urban environment.
In some of the works Ito has stacked up glass jars which contain and “preserve (…) segmented tree branches” on a concrete floor – juxtaposing manmade and natural objects.
In KV265, 2009 a video of green imagery and the sound of Ito playing Mozart’s twelve variations of Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman on the piano, is projected behind the stacked glass jarred piece Plight.
The melody could perhaps seem familiar to the viewer as it sounds like childhood nursery rhymes and heightens a sense of “nostalgia” (CAM Raleigh, 2011). The Gallery states that:
Ito considers this work to be a “treatment for winter depression;” filled with lovely scenes of green projected through jars, their final images distorted and dreamlike (…) the dialogue between [both] works speak of summer and winter, growth and decline, joy and sadness (Ibid).
I felt really drawn to these pieces, particularly as the Hayward Curatorial Open Call Exhibition is touring to quite urban environments including Newcastle and Liverpool. The idea of the viewer re-considering their landscape and presenting a sense of nostalgia as well as preservation appealed to me and my concept. Similarly to Abigail Reynolds, the pieces create a sense of importance to society’s environment – something that one may take for granted.
CAM Raleigh (2011) Naoko Ito: Urban Nature (online) New York: CAM Raleigh. Available at: http://camraleigh.org/exhibitions/2011ito/ (accessed on 21/02/2014)