Space, in all its forms, is something often taken for granted. Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi plays with this complacency in his unusual public installations.
Known for enclosing public monuments within private settings for people to view in new light, Nishi has meticulously constructed two, large rooms for the latest Kaldor Public Art Project – War and Peace and in Between – currently on display outside the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney.
John Kaldor, the man responsible for bringing Nishi to Australia, says the artist is a master of transformation.
“He makes us open our eyes and look at what we are accustomed to in a new way,” Kaldor says.
Nishi has now transformed the two Gilbert Bayes equestrian sculptures The Offerings of War and The Offerings of Peace which flank either side of the gallery’s entrance, into two, domestic rooms.
“The sculpture looks fresh and renewed because you see it standing in a room and you see it from a new perspective,” Nishi says.
“I do this work because art is an opportunity to question rationality and get another, new point of view.”
Despite being born in Japan in 1960 Nishi now calls Berlin, Germany home and has been building domestic rooms around well-known public monuments for more than a decade.
Through his work familiar structures morph into temporary, intimate domains, forcing the viewer to reconsider the public and private divide.
Previous works have taken Nishi to Tokyo, Dublin, Berlin, Basel, Seville and Los Angeles. One of his most significant works – a functioning five-star hotel built around a statue of Queen Victoria for the 2002 Liverpool Biennial, in the United Kingdom, has garnered him acclaim while inviting hotel patrons to “spend a night with Queen Victoria”.
War and Peace and in Between will be on display until February 14, 2010.
Art Gallery of New South Wales
On view at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
2 october 2009 – 14 february 2010
War and Peace and in Between
Tatzu Nishi 2009
A Kaldor Public Art Project
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Photography: Carley Wright