23rd Art Division Excellence Award

between #4 Black Aura

Media installation

ReKOGEI (ISHIBASHI Tomoya, Representative) [Japan]


A project focusing on the aesthetic texture of lacquer that adopts 3DCG / 3D printing technology to explore lacquer’s inherent charm from a technological perspective, while elaborating on its plasticity and production process. This work generates modeling data simulating the texture of lacquer. It then performs 3D collision simulations to elicit a form, such as a modeled object spearing a square textile, that would be difficult to reproduce with manual crafting. Output with a 3D printer, the data is brought to fruition as a lacquer sculpture with countless layers of lacquer coating and polishing manually applied by a lacquer artisan. The modeled lacquer is then photographed so as to replicate the 3DCG-rendered image’s composition, lighting and so on. From a distance the images thus photographed appear the same as those produced through rendering, yet subtle disparities can be detected upon closer inspection. These discrepancies form the basis of the work’s inquiry into lacquer’s intrinsic charm. As one installment of the between series, Black Aura aims to reexamine the techniques, history and aesthetics of traditional crafts from a technological perspective to reinterpret the charm of lacquer.


While important, the combination of traditional craftwork with IT is not a novel one. Moreover, if the objective was to attain a mathematical design without human involvement, or even a modern revival of the properties of the kanshitsu dry lacquer technique, wherein form equals structure, there are already outstanding forerunners to be found. It is the unique approach the artists have employed to elicit the charm of lacquer that makes this work of such interest. The image of a mystery projectile spearing a mystery textile with which it has collided is an astonishing one that no one has seen before. As the inexplicable spearing of the textile progresses further, a complex pleating is formed in it, running in four directions. The undulating pleats serve to make the liquid surface of the projectile, as well as the subtle gleam that is characteristic of lacquer, stand out all the more. If In Praise of Shadows may be acknowledged as having previously dealt with this gleam, the way it is handled by ReKOGEI is futuristic, to be sure. There is a wavering in the very concept of veracity versus falsehood that arises as the image is transformed into sculpture, and then back to image. Nevertheless, this process is decidedly linked with the state of the world in which we currently live. (AKIBA Fuminori)