Would you call a point that is one hour’s walk away far or near? Would not your answer depend on your relationship with what was at the end of the walk?
For Robert Law, who works at Britain's oldest public astronomical observatory, Mills Observatory in Dundee, Scotland, the distance to the stars, several light-years away, may be closer than the distance to his neighbors. A self-taught astronomical enthusiast, who never received specialized education and who stumbled into his current job, Law shares stories of celestial bodies with visitors as he makes adjustments to the observatory’s old-fashioned machinery.
Sawa met Law in 2013 and was so impressed by his strong attachment to space, light, and lenses that he decided to film him at work. Sawa’s art to date is known for giving visual representation to worlds that people might know from the depths of their memory or consciousness, but that could never have actually existed in reality, such as a room with countless model airplanes flying through it, or kettles and rocking horses starting to move by themselves. While Sawa and Law may seem to have little in common, you could say they share an awareness of space and time that is based on the concept of multidimensional space. Whether beyond the sky or within the human consciousness, they create private and comfortable spaces that exist beyond common concepts of distance, time, and boundaries between here and there. And they show us that making the journey there and back is possible for any of us if we choose. (N.S.)
A film by SAWA Hiraki
Voice / act
Mills Observatory in Dundee
Born in Ishikawa Prefecture in 1977. Based in London and Ishikawa Prefecture. Sawa creates videos that capture his subject’s full psychological territory, including mental landscapes and memories. In recent years, he has worked on installations that combine an axis of video with three- and two-dimensional works. His attempts at combining physical and mental space lead viewers on a journey into the depths of human consciousness.
Major exhibitions include “Overlapping Circles: 5 Artists Collaborate with the Collection” (Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Chiba, 2020), “KAAT Exhibition 2018: Hiraki Sawa” (solo exhibition–Kanagawa Arts Theater, Kanagawa, 2018), “Reborn Art Festival” (Miyagi, 2017), “Sapporo International Arts Festival” (Hokkaido, 2017), “Oku-Noto Triennale” (Ishikawa, 2017), “Under the Box, Beyond the Bounds” (solo exhibition–Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2014) and the 17th Sydney Biennale (Sydney, Australia, 2010).