Eclectica Contemporary | BEING by Asuka Nirasawa

BEING by Asuka Nirasawa | Opens 4 October 2018

Asuka Nirasawa is a multifaceted multimedia artist who shares the results of the partnership between her artistic fluidity, curiosity and philosophical sensibilities at Eclectica Contemporary through this exhibition “BEING”.

Asuka’s work combines four series of works of which the common thread of the work consists of a circular pattern. Through these particular works – Asuka presents viewers with her exploration and experimentation of the circular motifs to be found in African fabrics that she has been studying for the past 2 years in great detail. The philosophical central theme here is based on experimental work she began whilst living in India in 2013. Asuka places these motifs within a philosophical discourse by challenging it’s aspects beyond just the decorative and ornamental – she questions the deeper meaning of the circular form.  Although Asuka herself isn’t religious she has discovered that the elements of her Japanese-Buddhist heritage, subconsciously inform her own philosophy.

From Asuka’s first visit to South Africa, she was exposed to the rich textiles of Africa. To Asuka, fabrics are important elements that reflect the culture, lifestyle and the living circumstances of a country and they have the potential to transform both our daily lives and the art of cultures. She was inspired by the vivid colour compositions and was fascinated by the contrast between the vividly coloured geometry of objects superimposed on tranquil backgrounds – which she describes as “quiet immobility”.

She has since been working extensively with Southern and Eastern African textiles such as Shwe-shwe, Kanga and Kitenge.  It is in the contrast between the vibrant colourful tones and the patterns that Asuka finds movement relative to the sense of tranquillity in the whole composition of the fabric – hence, the fabric has a life of its own.  Asuka explains how “African fabrics exude pleasure and respect for life through both a sense of peace and exuberant dynamism”.

Asuka’s process when she creates is complex and she has a free spirit with the brain of an art director.  She says “Sometimes my hands are creating much more interesting work than I think. In that case, only my hands will know where my works are going….. My process seeks to create art – to express a tangible version of my thoughts and emotions, often involving moving back and forth between the conscious and sub-conscious. I am always in the process of finding such a transcendental moment”.

When it comes to traditional and multi-media – Asuka likes to use both. She uses digital tools at the start to expand her analogue ideas in terms of the large-scale size that she imagines when working. Once the final image is established, “I will start to destroy and transform my idea into another thing through an analogue method . . . It is a complicated process.”

Her concepts come from “experience and memory, trauma and other times not.” Asuka believes that openness is important in art.

“Whenever I see the artist’s concept, I look into how they live, what they think – I think about how they exposed themselves, to show their own scars.”