Last Updated:Jun 16, 2007

Hitoshi Nishiyama: “White Out”

If it were the middle of summer right now – 35 degrees and rising outside – then I would definitely recommend going to Hitoshi Nishiyama’s “White Out” installation to cool down.

Climbing into what can only be described as huge white styrofoam cave carefully carved to resemble a sort of icy glacier in Antarctica, built in the small Tokyo Wonder Site gallery smack in the middle of Shibuya, I felt oddly removed from the bustling reality just meters away on the other side of the gallery doors. Nishiyama’s small but to-the-point sculptures of waves, made of blue resin, nicely accentuate the ‘cool’ ambience of the installation.

Frankly, “White Out” gave me the same sensation that a bouncy castle in the middle of Shibuya might have – a nice diversion, great squishy feeling under your feet (you enter wearing slippers), the thought of wanting to stay there forever yet knowing that your time is soon up … And once over, the feeling of somehow being let down after great anticipation prior to stepping in. I probably would have enjoyed his wave sculptures more had they been displayed in a normal museum setting. Which leaves me asking: why the need for the gigantic styrofoam?

Since this is a free event, I recommend going to the “Move on Asia” video installation across the hall as well (500 yen) while you’re there.

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Lena Oishi

Lena Oishi

Born in Japan in 1982, grew up in England and Australia. With a BA in Media and Communications and MA in Cinema Studies, she now lives in Tokyo as a freelance translator and occasional editor. Works include VICE Magazine, Japanese editorial supervision of "Metronome No. 11 - <i>What Is To Be Done? Tokyo</i> " (Seikosha, 2007), and translation for film and art festival catalogs. She can also interpret simultaneously if you give her enough candy. Lena likes making her eyeballs bleed after watching way too many films while eating ice cream in the dark.

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