Rei Naito's art is a delicate thing.
Made of love, light and the shadows of angels one wonders if the works
are really there. In an elegant installation, Gallery Koyanagi in Ginza
is exhibiting several of Rei Naito's works on paper.
Six sheets of white paper are displayed at about eye-level. Each is strongly
lit. After time, the color glowing from the center of the sheet is revealed
not the result of a reaction in your eyes to the bright light, but actually
there - pigment on paper.
The first sheet glows partly red and yellow the next green and yellow
then through the spectrum to blue and purple. The spectrum of colors is
applied to paper ever so lightly -- a fairy's touch. Rei
Naito was born in Hiroshima in the early 1960's. She has had a short but
stellar art career culminating in her installation at the 47th Venice
Biennale (1997). There, she created a tent-like installation with tiny
ephemeral sculptural elements inside. Another 1997 installation 'Being
Called' was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt.
A relic from this Frankfurt installation is also on display at Koyanagi.
Titled 'Pillow for the Dead', it is a little pillow made of silk organza
and thread. It is a mysterious tiny thing so delicate that only an angel
could lay its head upon it without crushing it.
There is 'an unbearable lightness' to Naito's art that infuriates as much
as it intrigues. To a skeptic her works are all light and dust -- nothing
more than a twinkle in the eye of a bedazzled art-world. Eyes that are
always eager to believe in the next exotic miracle. However, as Naito
has said of her art, "Only those who really want to see my work should
see it. Encountering my work should be a serious experience". Perhaps
her art really is a little like fairies Ð you have to believe in them
to see them.