By Jamie Solis
Intriguing artwork has a way of connecting you with an inanimate object, creating an experience that allows you to feel part of something universal. A light installation by Hiromi Takizawa entitled “ULTRAVIOLET” is an alluring medium that gives us the feeling we are melded with a piece of art that is actively improving upon our overall well-being. When you first approach this work by Takizawa, feelings of health and happiness are produced because it is aglow—as you bask in the illumination of this piece, you are reminded of how practices of light therapy convey the notion that light is therapeutic and beneficial. After all, the sun is a great source for our daily dose of precious Vitamin D.
Purposefully placed facing the downtown pedestrian mall in the storefront window of UCR Culver Center of the Arts, this work is considered much more than just a sculpture—this installment conveys permanence beyond something that will be forgotten once it’s gone. The artist presents many merging themes of where she draws her inspiration, which range from the places she has called home to one specific period of art where dynamic light was given the freedom to roam in simple spaces. Not only is its placement within this hub of cultural excitement deliberate, but the time of year this work is being displayed is intentional as well. During these months, the days are shorter and the nights are long, giving “ULTRAVIOLET” a greater period of time to exude its bright beauty. This season also reminds Takizawa of the fall when she was living in her hometown of Nagano, Japan.
As an artist who is intrigued by duality, Takizawa uses this piece as a vehicle to materialize the merging of her Japanese heritage with the intriguing and obscure encounters she has found in the Western hemisphere. The way she brings together this opposing partnership between the two different cultures is by creating more than one way the viewer to see “ULTRAVIOLET.” Demonstrating this conflicting relationship, you are given the option of witnessing her work from clashing perspectives—you may see how the illumination of the transparent cube varies dependent upon which space you secure for viewing it.
Whether you’ve come to witness “ULTRAVIOLET” as the sun sets, or you happen to find yourself on the illuminated pathway as you head to the City of Riverside’s annual Festival of Lights, from the outside the exhibit, you’re viewing an installation that is a luminous sight—the transparent cube Takizawa designed conducts multicolored neon lights that illuminate its form. Vibrancy and shadows are broadcasted through the glass and out into the walkway that lies in front of the building it is projected from.
Once you enter the modest building and walk around to the back of the installment, you get a completely rivaled outlook as you’re forced to peer through a large window portal. What was a diffused wash of light is now represented only from its origins—stark and sharp color is glowing off the 12 neon rods that are responsible for generating this flush of pinks, greens, yellows, blues and crisp white. Hanging plants create a mural of shadows against the lightly illuminated space surrounding the rods, highlighting how different standpoints will result in a completely different representation of the same subject. This view shows that if you take a step beyond your initial reaction, and take a deeper look at any subject, relativity becomes evident and perspectives tend to shift.
The way light moves and dances throughout a simple architectural place was clearly influential to Takizawa in the conception of this installation. It was during the minimalist light and space movement of the 1960s that these themes started to emerge in the art world. Allowing light and vibrant colors to create depth and texture within an otherwise simple environment was revolutionary, and pairing an abundance of brilliant light with personal themes, Takizawa embarks on a revolution all her own. Let yourself fall into the illusion Takizawa has created, and reflect on how one subject can look vastly different all depending upon where you’re standing.
ULTRAVIOLET at Culver Center of the Arts, UCR ARTSblock, 3824 Main St., Riverside, (909) 827-4787; artsblock.ucr.edu. Thru Jan 4. $3.