Between the Rocks

Between the Rocks is a series of drawings in charcoal and pencil by Akane Takayama. These monumental works present Takayama’s methodology of juxtaposition in practice. Towering rock formations in graphic detail on paper contain or reveal another concept, another construction. Sometimes hidden away, sometimes in plain view, each messaging a relationship between humanity and nature.

In The Nature of Death, an almost fossilised structure of rock contains within its silent shadows, mausoleums. The geological time implied by the rock is bold and obvious. We are placed before a scale of age which imposes the fleeting nature of our own mortality upon us. At ground level, within the cavern, the memorial structures of our own lives may seem impressive and even durable but in the context of the rock, these manufactured echoes have lost their resonance. Empty of reference to any individuality, they explain a meaning of life we all look away from in the everyday experience.

In Willendorf we see a more political narrative. Utilising the Kiki De Montparnasse icon which appears in other of her works, Takayama is making a very clear association with female identity. Kiki represents a woman at one with her sexuality, its use to gain power and the legitimacy of that use. Inside the world of men, patriarchal men, employing sex as a means of gaining status is only demeaned by those men because they know their own impotency in resisting its power.

Women who use sex as a tool for their progression and survival are enmeshed in a dismissive condemnation which in itself is political patriarchy. Between the rocks lies Kiki, unashamed and stridently disempowering the monolithic structures around her. No matter how tall, regardless of the mass, unaffected by scale, it is Kiki we see as she overcomes all obvious attempts at dominance.

Wherever we look Between the Rocks we find a narration, a voice which speaks to us about ourselves and our attitudes. This consideration reveals that we can see it is ourselves who are juxtaposed to our own stories; we stand as viewer subtly separated from our own timeline and thus afforded a perspective we find hard to perceive from within it.