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Fujiko Nakaya

1932 | Sapporo, Japan
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Japanese visual artist.

Before she began her painting career, Fujiko Nakaya studied at the High School of Japan Women’s University in Tokyo and at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Tokyo Gallery in 1962. Her work took an important turn in 1966, when she joined the Experiments in Art and Technology collective of artists and engineers (EAT) founded by Billy Klüver – who would later advise her in the technical development of her work – a collective for which she became the Tokyo representative, in 1969. On the occasion of the Osaka Expo ’70 and construction of the Pepsi pavilion, F. Nakaya surrounded the outside of the building with her first artificial fog sculpture (Fog Sculpture #47773). Since then, she has developed immersive and unstable environments, making her a pioneer of the genre. Her work also focuses on video.

With these artificial environments, created using a technical device that sprays billions of droplets of water from a nozzle system, the artist seeks to reproduce the effect of natural fog. To this end, F. Nakaya uses air and wind-inspired dynamics to make her work as similar as possible to natural occurrences. Starting in the 1970s, the artist began to envision these ever-changing outdoor works as pieces to be experienced to their fullest potential. Her fog sculptures became shared spaces for a variety of collaborations, such as with David Tudor in 1974 – Fog Environment for David Tudor Concert (Project) – on Knavelskär Island, Sweden; with Trisha Brown in 1980 for the choreography Opal Loop, during which she designed her first indoor fog as a setting for dancers; or that same year for a Bill Viola improvised concert in the Ojika River Valley in Japan (Fog Sculpture/Performance #47690). The number used in the title always matches the international code of the weather station where the piece is set up.

 

For over forty years, F. Nakaya has explored the impermanence of art and designed her fog environments/sculptures according to the physical data and atmospheric conditions of their settings. This “conversation with the wind”, as the artist beautifully puts it, enables her to create works that constantly shift in form and surprise viewers with their infinite variations. F. Nakaya’s work has seldom been shown in France. The first time was for the Vents des forêts initiative in the Meuse, to which she was invited in 2011. She also created a temporary fog installation (Moss Garden. Fog Garden #07172) in Nicey-sur-Aire, which is reactivated each spring, transforming the atmosphere of the small Japanese garden. Her work was also featured at the exhibition Dynamo (Paris, Grand Palais, 2013), for which F. Nakaya set up a temporary fog sculpture in the Nymph Fountain at the entrance of the Grand Palais.

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© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Bridge, 2013, Exploratorium, San Francisco, © Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, 1970, Pepsi Pavilion Expo 70, Osaka, © Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, 1988, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, © Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, 1988, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, © Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, © Fujiko Nakaya

Fujiko Nakaya — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Fujiko Nakaya, View of the Dynamo exhibition, Grand Palais, 2013, © Fujiko Nakaya

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