Yuko Shiraishi is recognised for her minimal, abstract canvases with remarkable use of colour. Delicate, layered brushwork reveal nuances of light and colour in bands of contrasting tones or carefully placed dots on the surface of the canvas. Recent paintings in this exhibition explore Shiraishi’s long-standing interest in dreams. This interest spans the scientific and the poetic; beyond the dreams we remember, neuroscience shows that the brain is very active throughout the time we spend sleeping. Artists, from writers, poets and musicians to filmmakers, have always been concerned with dream worlds and Shiraishi cites Jorge Luis Borges–a twentieth-century Argentinian writer who created his own world of dreams–as a major influence.
The first installation, ‘pass age’, is a new work in Shiraishi’s ongoing ‘Imaginary Architectural Project’ which includes previous works: ‘Space Elevator Tea House’, ‘Confession Box’ and ‘Ancient Egyptian Tomb’. ‘pass age’ is drawn from the concept of Noh theatre, a classical form of Japanese theatre performed since the 14th Century. With an emphasis on tradition, the drama occurs in both our existing world and in that of purgatory or a dream-like realm. Shiraishi is interested in the embodiment of that realm through consistent architectural forms and space that the Noh theatre takes. This is represented in ‘pass age’ by a skeletal architectural form that is visible only through a small window in the gallery’s wall.
For the second installation, ‘Paralleling’, Shiraishi transforms part of the gallery with a colour installation; the space is painted in primary and tertiary colours which highlight architectural elements. For example structural beams are painted in different colours forming lines that travel down walls and across floors. Here, Shiraishi manipulates our perception of the surrounding environment to create a different realm–perhaps like the one that we experience between a dream and waking reality.