insulated glass, brass, air, wine
Installation view at Aichi Triennale 2013, Japan
Photo: Yoshihiro Kikuyama
Isola, Reijiro Wada’s work for the Aichi Triennale 2013, was installed in the gigantic oval water basin that floats in the air above the Oasis 21 complex facility in central Nagoya. When walking around the basin, it appears as if the surrounding buildings are cut off below the fourth floor, providing an experience akin to an aerial walk, but the 40 sheets of tempered glass that were floated in the water basin as part of Wada’s artwork further emphasized the horizontal line that cuts through the cityscape. It was particularly beautiful in the late afternoon when the sunlight was almost horizontal, the entire work appearing to shine in a complex fashion as reflected light from the glass of the surrounding buildings mingled with the sunlight.
Containing air and wine, the units of tempered glass resembled tatami mats randomly scattered across the water surface. Given that the size of a tatami mat is the basic module of Japanese architecture, the result perhaps called to mind the towns that were quietly destroyed by the tsunami during the Tohoku disaster of 2011. Perhaps the work could even be regarded as a scene of a catastrophe in a shopping quarter. However, the theme of Aichi Triennale 2013 actually took into consideration the disaster of 2011 and its memories. The red and white tempered glass units constituted a horizontal monument in which images of death and rebirth were superimposed. However, due to the peculiar nature of the location in which it was installed, Isola was assured of a different perspective. It was possible to look up at it from below, through the glass roof. This perspective meant it could be viewed virtually through the water. Moreover, as a result of the viewing angle rotating 90 degrees, the flooring-like effect of the tempered glass units as tatami mats underwent a turnaround, so that they ended up looking like small skylights through which light passed from above. A collection of red skylights above a plaza. Indeed, a sheet of glass with an aspect ratio of 1:2 is a form that could reasonably be deemed a window.
Taro Igarashi, architectural historian and critic