Sculptor Nagato Iwasaki
Mesmerizing driftwood sculptures by Japanese artist Nagato Iwasaki. Text by Folk Horror Magpie. More like this: “UMI” Sculpture by Daniel Popper in Lisle, Illinois
All of the figures are part of an interconnected work that Iwasaki calls ‘Torso’ and each have undergone a painstaking process of construction over the past 25 years.
“Gathering bits of wood from here and there, like an insect building a nest, I create sculptures” says the artist in one of his few interviews. Driftwood of just the right shape and size to mimic a human collarbone or the cur of a pelvis don’t come floating down the river every day. The slow, meditative process is as much a component of bringing the figures to life as their foraged bones.
Many of the figures are ‘complete’ with alien-proportioned heads and fully fleshed out musculature, giving them an unmistakably – albeit uncanny – human presence.
Others meanwhile are cut off at the waist or missing limbs as if dissembling of their own accord, a frightening image to come across in the woods.
Though he has exhibited internationally the forest settings far better suit the figures than a white cube gallery, free to change colour with the natural elements, creaking and bowing with the effect of rainwater, gathering.