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Sugar MountainFura S. (Nobi Shioya)
On Wednesday, October 29, 123 Watts will present an exhibition of works by an engaging Japanese-American sculptor, Fura S. This will be FuraAlbany, New York in 1958 and moved to Japan with his family in the 60Kamakura before entering Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1988, Fura S. returned to the United States and he now lives and works in New York City.
For the past five years, Fura has been working on his private project "Water Series", as well as being actively involved with public art projects. In the "Water Series", Fura reflects his personal side. The 1996 exhibition "Submersions" consisted of religious figures (Piet`, Saint, Altar Boys) submerged in water-filled containers made of epoxy resin and fiberglass. Fura continues to explore the "Water Series". He is currently fabricating two gigantic pieces. The first, "Ashita no Joe: The Tokyo Icon," is a stark white, life-size sculpture of a young boxer (the hero of a popular Japanese comic strip from the late 60sculpture entitled "Piet` 2001", is a remake of MichelangeloPiet` submerged in a huge cylindrical glass tank of water. The lens effect of glass and water distorts the image. Both sculptures should be completed by the year 2000.
In SUGAR MOUNTAIN, Fura departs from water, his favorite material. The exhibition will feature three sculptures primarily made of sugar and presented in a set-like installation. Both floor and walls are made of raw plywood panels. Fura S. says: "This is like going off into a doze in class after lunch. I just wanted to spend some time on something stemming from my silly ideas and idle memories.... Putting these together in an installation is a bit like digging a big hole and ditches in your parentsown landscape."
Fura S. offers us some of his "day dreams" revolving around the Madonna. The shape of the three sculptures evokes mountains. The installation evokes the intimate feeling one would experience upon entering a small Japanese garden, teahouse or even the narrow ways found in any of the cities in Japan. In SUGAR MOUNTAIN, the medium plays a prominent part. Here, sugar is used as opposed to salt, which is used in religious rituals. Sugar has a profane character. Like salt, it has a crystalline whiteness that suggests purity but sugar also represents sweetness and pleasure. For Fura S., sugar is associated with intimate childhood memories. It reminds him of a characteristic body scent of white American kids he used to play with, which was different from that of Japanese kids.