Asia Society Texas Center presents new installation by artist Miya Ando

ArtDaily, January 27, 2020


HOUSTON, TX.- Asia Society Texas Center is presenting the multi-media artist Miya Ando for her ASTC debut in her installation exhibition Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form, a title which evokes Buddhism’s cherished text, the Heart Sutra. In addition to water and light, the exhibition makes use of wood and metal that Ando has altered by natural physical treatment such as sculpting and charring, as well as by chemical and electrical processes. Ando herself is installing the works throughout the Grand Hall, the North Gallery, and just outside the Louisa Studio Sarofim Gallery, in a site-specific response to Yoshio Taniguchi’s architecture.  

Ando’s exhibition is the latest in a series of site-specific installations that have been created in dialogue with ASTC’s building, by world-renowned Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. (The most recent example was 2018-2019’s eponymously named Ayomi Yoshida.) Ando has particular affinity for Taniguchi’s work, given her studies and her time in Japan. Buddhism’s impact on her worldview—she spent part of her childhood in a Buddhist temple in Japan—also inform the exhibition. 

The Heart Sutra, from which the exhibition title is derived, is an ancient Buddhist text. The earliest written version dates from the 7th century CE and it is commonly considered the most recited and studied Buddhist scripture. It addresses the “Two Truths” doctrine, which teaches that all things are devoid of an unchanging essence, that everything changes and is in constant flux; nothing is permanent. It is particularly relevant to this exhibition as the elements Ando utilizes have been altered and appear unlike their original state, emphasizing the lack of adherence to a typical or “expected” form. 

“Artists such as Miya Ando demonstrate the continuum in Asian art history and culture that continues to influence artists working today. Her study of early Buddhist texts has had a demonstrated impact on her practice, and the works featured in the exhibition will allow visitors to engage with ideas of temporality, impermanence, and interdependence,” says Bridget Bray, ASTC’s Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions. “In a time of increasingly digital and cursory experiences, she invites visitors to slow down and deeply consider the objects on view as an invitation to reflect on and reframe their experiences of their surroundings.” 

Ando’s work, new to Texans, has been seen all over the world, from Venice to Singapore to Munich to Hong Kong. Last year, during Miami Art Week, she wrapped all four sides of the historic 11-story Versailles building in panels featuring sunset-lit clouds, in another homage to the temporal nature of all things. Her work varies in scale, from works small enough to hold to installations spanning buildings and filling public parks. She works bi-coastally, at studios in NYC and Los Angeles. 

Ando’s first exhibition at Asia Society appears throughout both floors of the building and is free to all visitors.
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