Critics’ Picks

Tadashi Kawamata, The Shower, 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable.


Tadashi Kawamata

Made in Cloister
Piazza Enrico de Nicola 48
May 14–August 5

Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata has created a large-scale rhizomatic installation—organic and invitingly habitable—for this very distinctive sixteenth-century cloister, repurposed after years of decay as the main point of departure for a vast urban-renewal project in Naples. As always in his interventions, Kawamata exploits both the site’s architectural characteristics and the anthropological and social details of its environs. The Shower, 2017, is an immersive multiplanar cascade of four thousand fruit crates, twisting and tumbling down from all sides around a central gazebo-like wooden support structure. Depending on the direction of incoming sunlight, the work can seem like an oneiric grotto or a cozy, welcoming space within a space. Constructed over a week with help from local youth, The Shower derives value from its communal, collaborative process. Breaking barriers between genres, Kawamata’s works contemplate architecture, design, performance, and DIY building practices. Frequently recycled and connected to the daily life of the places where they arise, their humble materials are also often relatively short-lived, a fact reflected in the limited temporal existence of the works themselves. Kawamata’s method is as fascinating as the lightness and versatility of his output, resulting in intrinsically playful and destabilizing works that are able to draw in different audiences and simultaneously mirror the aesthetic and spiritual traditions of the artist’s home country.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.