In her most recent works, Aoshima looks past the disasters, past the end of the world. Reviving the premodern concept of history as cyclical (rather than linear and progressive), her imagery moves through the phases of urbanism or decadent civilization and the apocalypse to the rebirth of a fresh and innocent planet. In Graveheads, 2005, dark clouds converge on a crowded conglomeration of gravestones that resembles a city skyline and rain down blood; the clouds then disappear, leaving a rainbow behind. Less harsh in tone, the lovely animation City Glow, 2005 describes a city, its skyscrapers imagined as sinuous female figures twinkilng with lights, overtaken by a lush, primordial jungle. In an interview, Aoshima described a similar romantic vision: "To imagine (the city) all rotted away, overgrown with trees and weeds, is also really fun! For example, being in Shibuya at dawn when there are no people reminds me of a world where humans have perished. Like cities that met their downfalls in the past, our city shall too sometime be gone. Thinking of this makes me feel like a part of cosmic history. No matter how selfishly we live this life, we are still in the end part of nature, and no matter how we resist, we are still powerless."Read More
Casting the collapse of present civlization as natural, part of an inevitable cycle that underlines the passive quality of contemporay identity identity that Murakami and others have noted. It seems to remove the political quality of current conditions like global warming, leaving the individual resigned to what must come. The distanced, cool effect of some of Aoshima's works seem to endorse the aestheticization of disaster, the idea that it is there for contemplation and even appreciation; as Aoshima puts it, "I would at least like to see with my own eyes what this society will look like as it crumbles away."
The exhibition encompasses the idea of producing and disseminating art objects that are simultaneously audacious and nonchalant, critical and benign.Read More