Ken + Julia Yonetani “Wishes”
[Image: Ken + Julia Yonetani "Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations" (2013)]
This event has ended.
For this show, the artists will present a body of work created upon the theme of nuclear power. The central piece will comprise an installation created from several chandeliers “Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations”, in which each chandelier is assigned the name of a nation-state with nuclear weapons, and the size of the chandelier corresponds to the scale of that country’s nuclear armaments. The chandeliers are produced using the now rarely-employed material of uranium glass, which when exposed to a UV black light emits a uniquely marvelous green light.
In the work “Three Wishes”, the figure of the Disney character Tinkerbell rotates, enveloped in light, in time to the melody of the song ‘Small World’ played on a music box. In contrast to its charming exterior, this piece is fraught with the threat of nuclear power. It was created taking inspiration from the 1957 Disney animated TV program “Our Friend the Atom”. As we approach closer to the work, we realize that Tinkerbell’s wings are those of the Pale Grass Blue species of butterfly (yamato shijimi), the bodies of which are now frequently malformed due to the effect of radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster.
Disney created Our Friend The Atom for future generations. For Japan, too, which was in a period of high economic growth at that time, nuclear power was seen as a means by which to enrich our lives; it was presented as a sign of proof of the nation’s growth. By contrast, it has been through the lived personal experience of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that we have come to learn of the actual, shocking environmental destruction and human endangerment made possible by industrial and economic development policies utilizing nuclear power generation.
“In the future, what should we wish for?”
Ken + Julia Yonetani’s works ask us to try to advance in progress towards our own future.