What is most enthralling about Yasuaki Onishi’s work must be his use of rudimentary materials to make up his intricate yet monumental mountain-like structures that appear to float in space. Onishi uses plastic sheeting and black hot glue in a process he calls “casting the invisible” which involves draping the plastic sheeting over stacked cardboard boxes, which are then removed to leave only their impressions. This process of “reversing” sculpture is Onishi’s meditation on the nature of the negative space, or void, left behind. It appears to be a suspended, glowing mass whose exact depth is difficult to perceive. Onishi wanted to create an installation that would absorb the industrial feel of The Mine’s first floor space, a first for this series as previous installations had been constructed on very high ceilings so as to allow the viewers to pass under the sheet. This one however is his very first installation adapted for The Mine’s low upper floor ceiling. The use of the first floor was a calculated decision by the artist which replicates, as the visitors climb the stairs, the final steps to a mountain summit giving way to the spectacular view that is the installation. The semi translucent plastic sheeting and wispy strands of hot glue envelop the viewer in a fragile, tent like enclosure speckled with inky black marks. Visitors can walk around the contemplative space, observing how the simplest qualities of light, shape, and line come together perfectly and give life to the piece.
Yasuaki Onishi was born in 1979 in Osaka, Japan, where he continues to live and work. He studied sculpture at the University of Tsukuba and Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan. He has had solo exhibitions throughout Japan, and his work was included in Ways of Worldmaking (2011), at the National Museum of Art, Osaka (NMAO). He has had many solo exhibitions around the world including France, China, Russia, Italy, Sweden and the United States.