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The Walls of Culture

The Walls of Culture sculpture series by Akane Takayama is a juxtaposition of form and character; her use of form, line and structure in a series produced in 2002. These were centre pieces of her solo exhibition at Cafe Gallery Projects¬†(one of London’s public funded galleries) in Southwark, 2003.

In Walking the Wall we see the convolutions of form reminiscent of the shape of the brain. Set upon the ridges Takayama placed chess pieces from a classic set; they add movement to the work even whilst immobile. Within the folds of the structure appear shadows of blue grey creating a palette of colour purely by use of light rather than pigment. On the whole, the image is mesmerising and draws the eye to investigate the spaces between the folds.

In her use of juxtaposition, Takayama creates a form which flows and travels without distinct animation, a movement produced by geometry and a whiteness preventing the observation of any disturbance. Onto this form and in context with it she works into place the chess pieces, firm, solid, distinctive points in time, statements of an artefact of culture which originated in the Far East to be then interpreted in time and place by other cultures. One concept of fluidity another of definition, juxtaposed and brought together in harmony.

In this series, Takayama displays her relationship within her life with changing cultures. Being Japanese but living in the UK she has experienced the walls which culture can present to the individual life. Hierarchy and prejudice are as much a part of the challenge a newcomer faces, in any culture, as language and climate. In her art, she seeks to express some of this experience and even question the status and legitimacy of the multicultural project.