Yotaro Niwa works with a variety of media including sculpture, drawing, installation and photography. His practice involves the use of everyday objects, such as household goods, food, ladders and clothing, combined with the use of industrial materials such as electrical cable, metal pipes, plexi-glass and fluorescent lighting. Often taken from locations near to where he works, his choice of material is closely linked to its relationship with the environment. Dealing with issues concerning cultural and environmental change, Niwa plays with significant structures and architectural devices, some of which relate to his homeland. His sculptural environments also explore different possibilities of perception. Variable configurations of objects, their instability left ambiguous, form a network of relationships which attempt to confound the viewer’s expectations of order and harmony. While on residency at IMMA Niwa has been on a daily quest to find the materials which, over time, have become dedundant within the Museums resources. For his two weeks in the Process Room Niwa used the first week to hang, place and assemble the materials he accumilated, and the second week has resulted with an istallation which contains classic elements of the museums overflow, along with seasonal anecdotes, personal artefacts and Niwa’s own sense of aesthetics merged with the culture he is currently emersed in.
“As an artist working at great distance from my homeland, I am particularly interested in how I react to new environments. Nonetheless, my Japanese mindset remains the starting point for my observations. Raised on a small island in Japan, I was to leave for Tokyo 10 years later. Meanwhile, my home had changed significantly, most notably due to the construction of two large suspension bridges. On account of my long absence, I was not aware of these changes and found myself in a different world upon my return. As a result of this experience, I have become engaged in the question of environmental changes, which people often find themselves exposed to, and to which they most of the time adapt. Moreover, I deal with my personal perception, when arriving in a foreign environment.” Yotaro Niwa, The Drawing Centre, 2008
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Niwa studied at Braunschweig University of Art in Germany and now lives and works in Berlin. In 2009 Niwa was awarded a scholarship by the Japanese Department of Art and Culture. Recent exhibitions include Emporium, 2009, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, Milan; Dialogausstellung, Konsistenz, 2009, Japanisches Kulturinstitut, Cologne; Alpha M project, The Space of Appearance Vol.1, 2008, Art Space Kimura, Tokyo, and Den Gang der Handlung verfolgen, 2007, Kunstverein St.Pauli, Hamburg.