Ruriko Miyamoto: We cannot exist alone
The work of Japanese artist Ruriko Miyamoto reveals man’s inability to live in isolation, despite having an individual body which physically separates the inner world from the outside universe. However, connections are possible, but they are sometimes hardly visible in the everyday life, and the artist highlights the contrast between the importance of diversity in the material world and the fear to accept it, to find harmony in what we perceive as different, to connect with the other and our surroundings.
Her 2016 solo show at Kei-fu Gallery in Kyoto speaks about human spirituality and its relationship to the current global condition, as the artist explains: “The world is congregated with diverse cultural expression through personalities and motives, yet mother earth displays harmony and unity. Light is infused as a visual symbol that expresses the various religious affiliations and personal faiths found on our planet. Pebbles, earth, and found objects from Sacred Places will visually express the essence of the specific places represented in the artwork. These items are placed in a translucent ceramic box and fired in a kiln. The firing process symbolizes the items’ transformation into pureness. During the exhibition, the ceramic boxes will be exhibited on an ‘altar’ with a light below each box. Participating viewers will see the fired remains through the lighted translucent boxes. As people attend the exhibition, join, and share Harmony in the Diversity – Oneness, ‘the gathering of sacred spaces’, their reflection, contemplation and their connection become the essence of the artwork’s purpose. Audience engagement completes this artwork’s purpose.”
Other sculptures unfold contemporary ‘treasures’, with plastic bottles turned into vestiges of a consumerist culture. On the other hand, the collaboration with Katherine Sandnas links the common heritage of two countries that share similar yet unsettling experiences: Book 1 refers to the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Book 2 speaks of the Victory in the Pacific Day, the anniversary of the end of a war and the Treaty of San Francisco – Treaty of Peace with Japan; Book 3 reminds of 9/11 and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami, while Book 4 refers to nuclear tests in both countries, leaving Book 5 to express ‘Nothing’. The artists fired the following pieces in the Shigaraki Toki-clay, bringing recent history to a new life and meaning: Hiroshima river sand, leaves and seeds, Hiroshima ocean sand, Nagasaki earth, leaves, Fukushima ocean sand, shells, flowers, Pearl Harbor sand, leaves, St Paul’s Chapel Yard-earth and leaves (directly across the street from the Twin Towers), Earth, sand and leaves of the United States of America.
Through her thought-provoking works, Ruriko Miyamoto opens the way to “the greater connections that we as individuals cannot exhaust on our own,” to consciously understand life as oneness through the awareness and embrace of diversity.
‘Harmony in the Diversity – Oneness’, 2016, Gallery Kei-fu, Kyoto, Japan
A collaboration between Japan and the United States of America (Ruriko Miyamoto & Katherine Sandnas), 2015, Gallery SUZUKI, Kyoto, Japan
‘Eternal-Evanescently’, 2013, The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park Museum Gallery, Shiga, Japan
‘Pots for the 20th Century’, 2010, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan
Images © Ruriko Miyamoto
View more on her website.