Kana Harada: The Way Home

by Chris Jagers May 24, 2010


Kana Harada just had an opening at the MAC, displaying almost a dozen of her plant-forms. The combination of trees and flowers reminds me of the forest within the movie Avatar. Part plant, part self-aware, these wilting organisms feel like they are from a dreamscape both familiar and wondrous. More pictures here.



Technically, the forms are made with very simple materials, cut foam, glue and sometimes found items used as an armature. The foam has a marshmallow-like surface that captures and holds the light, so that it almost disappears as a material. The construction seems related to oragami, or other paper crafts, where shapes are precut, then shaped and then assembled. Of course, these feel very “open” as if she was able to invent and respond during the construction process. And yet, the sillouette of every leaf feels perfectly natural.



Also wondrous are her low prices. Below is a detail from a full size tree that is around $2000 (the most expensive one). The thing would command any space: Every leaf is handcut and shaped … the pure labor and attention to detail is stunning. If you are a young collector looking to get started, look no further.



During this time when so many people are arguing about theory vs form, visual vs social, object vs meaning … it is so refreshing to find an artist that has so effortlessly collapsed all these things into a single practice, almost a meditation. Her beliefs and inspiration come through clearly via her visual form. Her creation of content through aesthetic means (rather than literal means) feels inspirational and provides a model for “the way home.”

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