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Seminal Hiraki Sawa Videos Reveal Unique Voice at Michigan's Kresge Art Museum
Hiraki Sawa (Japanese, born 1977) Dwelling, 2002, single-channel video, approx 9 ½ min. Image courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai. ©Hiraki Sawa.

EAST LANSING, MI.- Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University presents Hiraki Sawa: Other Dwellings, a pre-opening exhibition of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, curated by Founding Director Michael Rush. The exhibition is on view April 30 through July 29, 2011.

Hiraki Sawa: Other Dwellings presents seminal single-channel works of this young Japanese-born artist whose videos have placed him at the forefront of a new generation of video artists. Born in Kanazawa, Japan, in 1977, he has been living in London since 1997 when he enrolled at the University of East London, eventually earning an MFA from the Slade School of Art at University College London in 2003.

All of Sawa’s videos, from the earliest single-channel pieces (Dwelling, 2002; Airliner, 2003; Migration, 2003; Elsewhere, 2003) to his world-renowned multi-screen installations (Going Places Sitting Down, 2004; O, 2009), are intimate, sometimes hermetic meditations on place and the wonderfully odd activities that can occur in imaginative dimensions. In Sawa’s realm, a tree sprouting from a table, or a clock—suddenly with legs—walking along a bathroom sink, is as natural as a baby in its crib or a dog on its leash in what we think of as the “real” world. Sawa’s masterful use of digital editing, today’s equivalent of montage in Sergei Eisenstein’s time, turns the manipulated universe of this new technology into very familiar territory. The fantastical becomes everyday; the supernatural becomes commonplace.

“Sawa’s videos, prime examples of the artist’s intense communication with digital technologies, are at once haunting and playful. Even at a young age he mastered the art of surprise and deep connection with a variety of audiences,” says Michael Rush, curator of the exhibition Michael Rush was named founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in December, 2010. Rush, most recently the director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, will guide an ambitious exhibition program intended to situate the Broad at the center of international art dialogue. The building, designed by the work-renowned, Pritzker Prize winning architect, Zaha Hadid, is on schedule to open to the public in late April 2012.

Another video installation, Visualizing Sound, will also be on view at Kresge Art Museum from April 30 through July 29, 2011. Harry Bertoia’s sound-producing, beryllium copper sculpture, Sound Piece, 1978, will interact with a digital visualizer in this performative sculpture experience. The Bertoia, which entered the Kresge collection more than thirty years ago, will provide the source material for a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of shapes and colors projected onto a large screen.

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