Tomoshibi: Glass Works by Kazuki Takizawa
May 9, 2021 — September 12, 2021
Tomoshibi, the title of Kazuki Takizawa’s exhibition, means small light or flickering flame in Japanese. Light is a significant force in his exhibition, both physically and metaphorically. Imagined as natural forms and creatures in a dark forest, Takizawa’s glass pieces both refract and reflect light, illustrating his journey living with bipolar disorder. Here, the gallery space acts as a stage for Takizawa’s sculptures, utilizing light as both a visual and symbolic device.
Takizawa uses glass’s own inherent duality — at once transparent and opaque, fluid and structured, delicate and durable — to embody the complexities of coping with mental illness. His multicomponent sculptures and installations act as markers of his lived experiences. Despite moments of despair and joy, frustration and celebration, consistent throughout his story is the way light transforms his works. The light shows intricate textures, brightens the colors, and creates highlights to contrast the shadows. It passes through his sculptures revealing unexpected layers and details that were previously unseen. For Takizawa, the forest alludes to his circuitous personal path with mental illness. The metaphor not only describes the deep obscurity of depression, but also acts as a reminder that through the darkness shine tomoshibi, or little lights, that guide the way forward.
Perhaps the light that burns brightest is Takizawa’s own resilience and hope. He has worked to understand himself, acknowledging that his bipolar episodes have spurred some of his greatest creativity and contributed to his unique vision of the world. By sharing his own experiences, Takizawa also shines light on the stigma and silence that often surrounds mental illness. He also exemplifies how health and healing can come through the act of making.
This exhibition is supported in part by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture and a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support provided by the Glass Alliance of Los Angeles and the Japan Foundation.
Exhibition Walkthrough can be found below:
Also be sure to check out: The Craft of Poetry: Poets in Response to the work of Kazuki Takizawa