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The talk of the art world: Yasuaki Onishi's stunning Rice Gallery work draws national attention

The talk of the art world: Yasuaki Onishi's stunning Rice Gallery work draws national attention

Ever since Yasuaki Onishi's reverse of volume RG​ at Rice Gallery opened, the site-specific installation has drawn media attention from outlets as varied as Fast Co. DesignGizmodo and the Huffington Post.

Onishi and an assistant created the piece in just three weeks, using simple raw materials — a plastic sheet, black hot glue and cardboard boxes — in an involved process that the Japanese artist calls "casting the invisible."

 The mountainous form, which stretches almost to the walls of the gallery, is ethereal, something that can't be encapsulated in a photograph or described in words.  

The final product is a suspended sculpture forming the impression that the boxes once occupied. The mountainous form, which stretches almost to the walls of the gallery, is ethereal, something that can't be encapsulated in a photograph or described in words. It must be experienced. 

Once the viewer steps beneath the piece, sounds are muffled. Conversations become more intimate and contemplative. All structural support is invisible, so the glowing, translucent sheet appears both weightless and cavernous. 

"[Onishi] thinks of this enclosure as the opposite of architecture," assistant curator Joshua Fischer tells CultureMap. Nor does he think of the hot glue as a suspending mechanism, but rather as something that occupies the negative space. 

The details of that approach are only visible from the outside: Creases and folds in the plastic, strands of black hot glue cascading from the ceiling to form ink-like puddles on the sheet's surface.

Watch the video by Mark and Angela Walley above for more insight. Onishi's ​reverse of volume RG ​will be on view at the Rice Gallery through June 24. 

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Yasuaki Onishi spent three weeks on site constructing reverse of volume RG.  Photo by © Nash Baker/nashbaker.com
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Rice Gallery assistant curator Joshua Fischer says that Onishi's work suits the character of the space.  Photo by © Nash Baker/nashbaker.com
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Viewers are encouraged to walk around and beneath the installation for a complete experience.  Photo by © Nash Baker/nashbaker.com
News_Yasuaki Onishi_reverse of volume RG_2012_Rice Gallery_May 2012
News_Yasuaki Onishi_reverse of volume RG_2012_Rice Gallery_May 2012
News_Yasuaki Onishi_reverse of volume RG_2012_Rice Gallery_May 2012