The Noguchi Museum presents Miya Ando: Clouds, an installation of two site-specific sculptures in the Museum’s indoor-outdoor gallery. The works, suspended plate-glass sculptures internally etched with images of clouds, share Isamu Noguchi’s interest in sculpting ephemeral materials, and in using them to shape space.
Raised in a Buddhist temple by the sea in Okayama, Japan, and on 25-acres of redwood forest in coastal Northern California, artist Miya Ando has always been drawn to the immaterial quality of fog and clouds. She began creating images of clouds in glass cubes and slabs in 2011. Pushing the limits of commercial laser etching technology from the outset, she started small. By collaborating with a highly specialized factory, she has been able to gradually enlarge them. The two examples for the Museum, the first she has decided to hang—Haku-Un (White Cloud) 4.8.1, the largest to date, and Haku-Un (White Cloud) 3.3.1—take the work in a new, more environmental direction.
The pairing of her clouds with Noguchi’s large basalt sculptures was inspired by a Japanese zengo (or Zen phrase): “Blue mountain does not move. White cloud comes and goes naturally.” Although the etched image of clouds in the glass is static, the surface of the glass seems to move, as it mirrors changes in the environment. Meanwhile, the clouds shift in and out of sight as viewers walk around them. Seeming to expand and collapse in the charged landscape of the Museum’s indoor-outdoor gallery (Area 1), they are a conceptual and perceptual analogue for Noguchi’s collapsible Akari light sculptures—the subject of the Museum’s current exhibition Akari: Sculpture by Other Means.