Ever Blossoming Life II: Born, Bloom, Die

Historical Japanese screens are coming to life as traditional meets contemporary for Ever Blossoming at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA).

The Gallery’s recent acquisition, Ever Blossoming Life II – A whole year per hour, Gold, by teamLab is the focus of the display, presented among traditional Japanese screens from the Edo period. Ever Blossoming Life II does not just reflect the tastes of the Edo period but teamLab draws directly from art history in the actual look of the screens. The Japanese-based teamLab uses incredibly advanced technology to present Japanese painting traditions with a contemporary edge.

ever-blossoming-adelaide-review-ozasia Installation view Ever Blossoming, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016

Curator Rusty Kelty says: “It’s really exciting for us; it means we could bring out all these screens and have a conversation with contemporary art in a way that we have done in the past but not as specifically as this.” teamLab, founded by Toshiyuki Inoko in 2001, is an art collective based in Tokyo, comprising around 200 to 300 individuals who are self described ultra-technologists. “They integrate science, creativity and art together at the highest level,” Kelty says. “There is a founder but no real central character, it’s really this diffusive collective of people creating artworks.” Ever Blossoming Life II is a floral motif which looks at flowers and their lifespan – they are born, they bloom, they die and their flowers and petals disperse on the screen. teamLab has created an algorithm for the work so that it is constantly recreating itself ensuring each viewer will have a unique view of the artwork. “It’s not a loop, it’s not 20 or 30 seconds repeated, it’s in real time, composing new compositions for each individual viewer,” Kelty says.

ever-blossoming-adelaide-review-ozasia Installation view Ever Blossoming, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016

Presenting traditional ideas and motifs in this contemporary form is also relevant to today’s society because some people who live in large cities only interact with the natural world through screens – in the form of smart phones or computers. “It makes sense that these artists are using screens and these idealised visions of flowers to reinterpret the idea of the natural world and connections with the seasons,” Kelty says. Alongside Ever Blossoming Life II is a number of screens from AGSA’s collection – the largest on display since 2009 – as well as another work by teamLab called Cold Life. teamLab’s work, The 100 Years Sea, is also on display at the Samstag Museum of Art, part of the Experimenta Recharge exhibition. Installation view Cold Life, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016 (video via Facebook) Not only is the exhibition a chance for people to experience traditional Japanese practice but it is also an opportunity to explore teamLab’s cutting-edge technology and design. “Audiences will see that Japan’s historical traditions haven’t died out, they still have resonance even with contemporary art,” Kelty says. Ever Blossoming Art Gallery of South Australia Friday, September 16 to Friday, November 18 teamLab: The 100 Years Sea Samstag Museum of Art Until Friday, September 23 team-lab.net ozasiafestival.com.au Header Image: Installation view Ever Blossoming, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2016

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