Milan

Hidetoshi Nagasawa

Valeria Belvedere

The three installations that Hidetoshi Nagasawa presented here, Lampo (Lightning), La stanza (The room), and Anello (Ring) (all from 1990), are animated by a number of dichotomies: suspension and weight, closure and extension, and the constructed and the natural.

Lampo, the largest of the three works, consists of a zigzagging lightning bolt of wood, iron, and brass, ominously suspended from a single pole wedged between the gallery floor and ceiling. The massive cranelike assemblage both occupies and activates the exhibition space. Tethered with rectangular, ringlike constructions of unpainted iron, the four wooden posts forming the zigzag seem precariously counterbalanced. The variously proportioned metal rings sharply contrast with the impressive weight of the hanging wooden poles.

In La Stanza Nagasawa foregrounds the physical enclosure of the windowless room that serves as the gallery’s entrance. Here polished brass carefully arranged on the floor, and a structure of straight four-sided brass rods reiterates the geometry of the space. Single rods extending from the shiny brass flooring toward the ceiling echo each of the corners, while a parallel set of the same bars, punctuated with small oxidized brass inserts, skirt the perimeter of the room near the ceiling. The inserts function in much the same way as the decorative brass caps on the wooden poles in Lampo. Anello consists of a towering rectangular iron beamlike bar that outlines the perimeter of another, smaller room. This massive ring, suspended at a height that requires the viewer to gaze upward, seems to hang by a single oversized iron hook mounted on the wall. Neither parallel to the floor nor the ceiling, the work seems, wedged into the space like a cork in a bottle.

Nagasawa’s representations of force, strength and energy do not rely on heroic notions of art making, but on the equilibrium or balance created by contradicting physical tensions. His work seems to propose a transcendental idea of a hidden and precarious order, by calling into representation a unified world composed of opposing tensions and polarities.

Anthony Iannacci