View all Events

Art Exhibitions Japan Institute

Takahiro Iwasaki: Nature of Perception

A preview from Iwasaki’s studio: Reflection Model (Rashomon), 2023 Takahiro Iwasaki, Courtesy of ANOMALY

Featuring the Work of 2023 Japan Institute Artist-in-Residence

Portland Japanese Garden and Japan Institute is are thrilled to exhibit the artwork of their 2023 Artist-in-Residence*, Takahiro Iwasaki. The Hiroshima-based Iwasaki gained worldwide recognition when he represented Japan at the 2017 Venice Biennale, a renowned contemporary art and architectural exposition often described as the Olympics of the art world.

Learn More About Takahiro Iwasaki and His Time in Portland

Iwasaki’s work plays with our sense of the familiar, using everyday materials and transforming them into extraordinary model landscapes that literally turn our expectations upside down.

Viewers may experience Iwasaki’s work both in the Pavilion Gallery and the Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery. In the Pavilion Gallery, experience the striking Reflection Model (Rashomon), a suspended model of the historical Rajo Gate, as well as two Tectonic Models, two artworks that Iwasaki created during his residency in Portland using books as his artmaking material (pictured below).

Reflection Model by Takahiro Iwasaki hanging from gallery ceiling
Reflection Model (Rashomon), 2023 Takahiro Iwasaki. Photo by Jonathan Ley
Tectonic Model (Book standing up with construction crane coming out)
Tectonic Model (Paul Anderer Kurosawa’s Rashomon), 2023 Takahiro Iwasaki. Photo by Jonathan Ley

Iwasaki hand-cut the majority of the cypress used to create Reflection Model (Rashomon), often stacking two pieces of wood together and then breaking simultaneously so the pieces would break in roughly the same ways to achieve the reflection effect. The cypress was left untreated, as natural wood is highly valued in traditional Japanese architecture. This approach also resonates with the idea of mono no aware, or appreciating the transient nature of things. In traditional Japanese architecture, the wood indeed rots over time. The beauty of this construction method is instead of nails, the wood has been crafted so pieces interlock and hold together, so parts can be substituted as needed. Buildings were one with the changing environment and were constantly changing as repairs and maintenance were needed.

In the Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery, located in the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center, viewers are met with an expansive installation that Iwasaki created during his residency this September 2023: Out of Disorder (Thread through Time) depicts the iconic landscape of Portland, Oregon using fabric. Read more about the inspiration and process behind this artwork here.

Out of Disorder depicting Hawthorne bridge on a structure of fabrics
Out of Disorder (Thread through Time), 2023 Takahiro Iwasaki. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

*About the Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program

The AiR Program at Portland Japanese Garden is one of Japan Institute’s Global Center for Culture and Art’s inspiring offerings. Experiencing Japanese arts and culture in the serene environment of the Garden forges deeper connections between nature and humanity that reinforces our interdependence. Residencies aim to give artists and craftspeople the opportunity to experience the Pacific Northwest and engage with the local community. Artists are provided time and space to draw inspiration from Portland Japanese Garden while members and visitors are introduced to the ever-expanding array of contemporary Japanese art, performance, and cultural practices.

Tour the Exhibition Online

Takahiro Iwasaki’s Artist-in-Residency was generously provided by

Additional support provided by