Objet d'Art: Watanabe Chiaki's Calm Mind

Calm Mind (2016), madake bamboo, rattan

AS rough and choppy as the waves might be on the surface of the ocean, when you sink into its depths, there’s a stillness. The human mind, when thoughts, concerns, worries, and fears, are stripped away, likewise becomes still. That was the sentiment that Japanese bamboo artist Watanabe Chiaki sought to convey when he made Calm Mind (2016).

Calm Mind is like a brush painting in three- dimensional form, a single stroke depiction of being deep down in the ocean and having a calmness in your heart and a positive mind, regardless of the violent storms that may be passing by,” he says.

The sinuous sculpture, on view at Tai Modern (1601 Paseo de Peralta, 505-984-1387, taimodern.com), is 21 by 19.5 inches. It gleams blue and black as its long, serpentine form wraps twice around itself. It is open at one end, inviting you into its labyrinthine folds. The sculpture is made of 2-millimeter-wide concentric bands of rattan and madake bamboo, which is prized by Japanese bamboo artists for its versatility. The outside of the rings are dyed black; the inside is blue. Walking around the sculpture, one gets a sense of its subtle tonality as it shifts from one color to the other, as though it’s reflecting the colors around it.

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