Adventures in light

Source: Global Times Published: 2015-3-4 19:03:01

Japanese artist uses glass and paper to explore the inner world

One day in 1993, Japanese artist Hitomi Uchikura (pictured below) was painting and sculpturing in her studio when her eye struck a pile of broken glass. Hitomi became enchanted by the sun shining on the surfaces.


From then on, Hitomi started using light and glass in her work. She now explores the possibilities of light through a series of installations that use glass surfaces and pure white paper.

Following exhibitions in Europe and Japan, Hitomi has brought her works to Shanghai’s Shun Art Gallery. It is her first solo exhibition in China, and will be held until March 22.

A common sense

The artist believes that a ray of light can evoke the strongest of feelings. People can see and feel the light, regardless of race, religion, nationality and gender.

“If my works were written in Japanese, no one except Japanese people could understand,” Hitomi said. “But it is light. Everyone can have their own understanding, whether they be from China, Japan or Germany.”

All the installations at the exhibit softly reflect light. Three of them with the same name, Lumière, were created in different years. They catch the light to produce a soft shadow in the debossed surface, opening up a mysterious and magical world of monochrome. The circular indentations convey different visual effects with light from different directions. Hitomi hopes that visitors can begin to trust and respect each other while staring at the light together.

Hitomi believes that our spirits are made of small particles of light inside our bodies. “If our heart is a mirror that reflects the spirit, watching the light is looking at our spirit itself,” she said.

Surrounded by the spectacle of light and dark, we have conversations with ourselves, and then reach into our minds.


A glass installation by Hitomi Uchikura on display at Shun Art Gallery Photos: Courtesy of the gallery

Embracing nature

Hitomi has a workshop in Nasu Kogen, a plateau where she lives in close communication with nature. She keeps a horse, walks on country roads with her dogs every morning, and gets inspiration under a tree. “The life I’m pursuing is peaceful and far away from contemporary civilization,” she said.

Likewise, her art brings people a sense of peace and quiet. Lotus, created in 1998, is typical of her work. Hitomi used mirror, aluminium and leather to build a lotus-shaped installation. The lights reflected by Lotus embrace the people who gather around it, and are a testament to the artist’s commitment to and coexistence with nature.

In the gallery, people can walk around Hitomi’s works freely. “I always want to create something so free that people interpret my works from their perspective,” Hitomi said. “I want my works to listen to the visitors.”

Wan Huang