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Mary M. Tinti

(b Houston, TX, 1951).

American sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His multimedia works investigate the pathology of contemporary culture. Mel Chin was born and raised in Houston, Texas to parents of Chinese birth and received his BA in 1975 from the Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. The works in Chin’s oeuvre are diverse in both medium and subject, but a consistent undercurrent of social, political, and environmental responsibility runs throughout. Whether a sculpture, film, video game, installation, public project or earthwork, Chin’s artworks consistently targeted a broad spectrum of pressing cultural and ecological interests and spread their message in subtle, if not viral ways.

In the 1980s, Chin produced a number of sculptures that set the stage for his ever-evocative artistic journey. The Extraction of Plenty from What Remains: 1823 (1988–9) is a frequently referenced piece from this period. It is a symbolic encapsulation of the effects of the Monroe Doctrine, referencing the complicated dealings between the US (represented by truncated replicas of White House columns) and Central America (represented by a cornucopia of mahogany branches, woven banana-tree fiber, and a surface layer of hardened blood, mud, and coffee grinds). From the 1990s, however, Chin moved away from strictly gallery-based installations and began creating works that directly engaged contemporary culture in a variety of physical and theoretical landscapes....

Article

Morgan Falconer

Reviser Mary Chou

(b Tokyo, 1962).

Japanese painter and sculptor. He studied at Tokyo National University of Fine Art and Music (BFA 1986, MFA 1988, PhD 1993). Murakami began to gain recognition as a sculptor in the early 1990s. Drawing on Minimalism and conceptual art, his work often explored the clash between contemporary Japanese and American culture. Sea Breeze (1992), which was made in response to an island location, consists of a large trailer with shutters that open to emit a powerful light; it suggests something of the aggressive, sardonic character of his work, as well as the influence of commercial display. In the late 1990s Murakami gained more recognition as a painter, and began to blend abstraction and cartoon imagery in highly coloured images painted in flat space. Some works are abstract: Cream (1998) depicts a long skein of blue-white seminal fluid flying across a pink backdrop. Others, such as ...

Article

Karen M. Fraser

(b Hyogo Prefecture, 1945).

Japanese photographer, sculptor, and conceptual artist. He studied at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, where he earned a BFA in 1967 and an MFA in 1969. Nomura was initially trained as a sculptor. In his MFA thesis project, Tardiology (1969), Nomura explored the idea of non-permanent sculptural form, creating an eight-metre tall cardboard sculpture and then using photographs to record the changes in form as the boxes gradually collapsed under their own weight. From that point on photography was one of his primary media. Nomura was interested in investigating processes of scientific and natural phenomena with a particular focus on the passage of time. He used photographs to capture movement and changes over time and to make previously unseen things visible. Many of his projects were created over lengthy periods, with photographs being taken daily or monthly and for years. In his 1991 Analemma series (The Analemma ’91-Noon...

Article

Midori Yoshimoto

(b Shizuoka, March 3, 1965).

Japanese conceptual artist, sculptor and installation artist . Sone earned an MA in architecture at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (1992), but decided to experiment with a wider range of media in order to explore the concepts of futility and the unattainable. His first work, Her 19th Foot (1993), shown at the Art Tower, in Mito, and later in the Rooseum, in Malmö, consisted of 19 unicycles welded together for 19 cyclists to ride. As several attempts by different participants failed, the work implied the ‘impossibility of communal illusions’ (see Inoue). His next work, Artificial Lawn Performance (1994), consisted of four photographs that seemed to prove the fiction that Sone had laid Astroturf on the surface of the moon as part of NASA’s art programme. The nonsense of the grandiose act is heightened by the artificial quality evident in Sone’s pseudo-documentary photographs. For the opening of the Expo ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Fukuoka, 1959).

Japanese sculptor. He studied at Musashino Art University, Tokyo, and completed a fellowship in sculpture at Yale University, New Haven, CT, in 1990. Initially Yanagi was influenced by the Minimalist and Conceptualist orientation of the Japanese Monoha movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s; soon after he became known for a series of performances using coloured gas. He rose to international prominence in the 1990s following the success of a number of seminal installations that employed ants as metaphors for global migration. In the Wandering Position series (begun in 1989) Yanagi used chalk to trace out the path of an ant as it moved about a circumscribed area. The World Flag Ant Farm (1990; first exh. Venice Biennale, 1993; see 1996 exh. cat., p. 37) elaborated on his ideas through an installation that comprised a complex of wall-mounted plexiglass boxes filled with coloured sand depicting a number of national flags. He added ants to the boxes, allowing them to crawl around and move the sand from one box to another via transparent tubes, thus progressively destroying the integrity of the flags. Yanagi’s interest in the nation state developed throughout the 1990s to encompass other themes, including ideology, nationalism and the construction of cultural difference. In ...