In architecture, design, Western art, everything is definitive, perfect, de-finite and finished Tadashi Kawamata's works and projects hardly coincide with this vision. Born in Hokkaido in 1953, the Japanese artist has repeatedly revealed in the course of his activity that he does not have a precise idea of when a work is finished, because a work is never finished and, in any case, it is not never perfect. And after all, Kawamata cannot and does not want to create something perfect. His installations are always something in the making: this is life, a work in progress, not a perfect reality. Man himself is not perfect, it is part of his nature. It is a vision that refers to the Zen Buddhist philosophy of which he is a child, that of imperfect perfection, of the traditional Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi ("nothing is eternal, all things are imperfect and incomplete") which recalls the ability to find beauty, well-being, harmony in imperfection, in the acceptance of the unconventional, in the transience of things.
Until 23 July 2022, Building (via Monte di Pietà 23 - from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am-7pm) presents the Nests in Milan exhibition curated by Antonella Soldaini. Known all over the world for his multidisciplinary projects, the artist has created a series of installations specially conceived for the occasion, both in the interior spaces and on the facade of Building and in the external ones of other nearby buildings: Grand Hotel et de Milan (via Monte di Pietà 24), Cariplo Foundation Congress Center (via Monte di Pietà 10), Cortile della Magnolia - Palazzo di Brera (via Brera 28).
An urban challenge
His works, mainly made of wood, are a reflection on the social context and human relationships. Urban planning challenges are at the origin of his work. The construction sites under construction or being demolished, the undeveloped areas that remain in the urban space are at the center of his interest: Kawamata, in the realization of his projects, uses the materials present on the site "recycling them". Overcoming the confines of closed and delimited places, his interventions involve not so much a single building but incorporate a portion of the urban fabric of the city: specifically, architectures which, for Milan, contain a civil and cultural value and which through the installations are subjected to a delicate and spectacular transformation process.
The theme of the nest
By appropriating internal and external spaces (facades, balconies, roofs) of the buildings, thanks to a series of installations obtained with the intertwining of wooden planks that form an inextricable grid, Kawamata solicits a different reading and interpretation. To unite the interventions, the choice of the theme of the nest with a strong symbolic value that the artist began to investigate since 1998 when his wooden constructions, which in the past had abstract shapes, visually approached to depict first a hut and then a nest. Its function is to provide a refuge for newborn birds, whose symbolic value refers to the universal need to build a place where they can find shelter.
Movement and time
Kawamata's nests, halfway between the result of a casual assembly and the result of a preordained construction, remain linked to the artistic language. Their appearance is elegant and delicate and refers to a conceptuality whose origins lie in the vision of a reality in continuous movement, transitory, fluctuating, subject to the passage of time. It is not for nothing that the installations (this is also the case in Milan), once the exhibition is over, will be dismantled and the wooden elements used for another purpose. From a perspective in which time, an indicator of the size or decline of a monument or site, becomes the key element.
On the occasion of the exhibition, a series of workshops organized in didactic collaboration with the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. The catalog, published by Building, includes texts by Antonella Soldaini, curator of the exhibition, Emilia Giorgi, critic and curator of visual arts and architecture, Chiara Rita Contin, psychologist and professor of Italian literature and contemporary history, and an unpublished interview with the artist created by the curator on the occasion of the exhibition.
Photo installations by Paolo Riolzi, portraits by Ilaria Maiorino / Daniele Perani.