When the power went out in 2011, the lights went on for Takahiro Iwasaki. He had been building tiny transmission towers out of towel and blanket fibers, and coal-fired power stations and oil refineries out of dirty cleaning rags, and was considering doing something on the Chernobyl catastrophe when events in Fukushima forced him to ponder Japan’s energy infrastructure more deeply. Some of the results of Iwasaki’s curiosity appeared in the Japanese Pavilion of the 2017 Venice Biennale, including a wraparound miniature representation of an industrial waterfront backed by hills of store-bought cloth, topped by dainty power lines. The cloth’s softness evoked the Japanese archipelago’s seismic instability.
Focusing on Japan’s energy past and present, Iwasaki’s recent show “Light Is Made of Stars” was a spin-off of the Venice exhibition. Its centerpiece was a large tabletop diorama, Out
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