By Kelsey Oldham
Perth Festival 2014
February 6 – April 17 2014
John Curtin Gallery
Curtin University of Technology,
As part of this year’s Perth International Arts Festival, the John Curtin Gallery has been graced with the presence of two spellbinding installations, from contemporary Japanese artists.
The Paramodel collective art “unit” have brought to Perth their remarkable feat of patience, time and creativity, ‘Paramodelic-Graffiti’. Formed in 2001 by Yasuhukio Hayashi and Yusuke Nakano, both graduates of Kyoto City University of Arts, their name is a portmanteau of “paradise” and “model”, a useful reference that describes their creative vision and the immersive environments that result. Using plastic toys, styrofoam and thousands of lengths of toy train track, they create all-encompassing, walk-through dioramas of paradise.
In addition to the installation process being a feat in itself (I was mesmerised by not only the installation, but the time lapse video of the process of its creation that accompanied it), ‘Paramodelic-Graffiti’ is absolutely stunning. Like stepping into another world, the room feels like a childhood paradise; it’s almost as if children who never grew up were left to their own devices to ever-expand indefinitely on their personal utopia.
Walking through ‘Paramodelic-Graffiti,’ and transitioning into the next gallery, you witness ‘The Tenth Sentiment.’ Ryota Kuwakabo’s hypnotic and interactive piece. This time, the viewer is plunged into a simple, yet beautiful world in which moving shadows engulf them via a model train and an LED light. The viewer is placed within ever-changing landscapes created out of everyday objects that hark back to a feeling of childhood innocence and wonder, where fantastic worlds could be created out of the everyday.
Both Paramodel and Kuwakubo’s beautiful interactive landscapes provide space to mediate on ideas of utopia through the lens of childhood innocence, creativity and wonder. Stepping out of the insular worlds within the gallery and returning to reality is like being reminded that eventually children become adults.
These spaces were created by and for children who never grow up; experience them for yourself.