Corn Exchange Gallery

Hayashi Takeshi’s solo exhibition at The Corn Exchange Gallery is comprised of two large-scale stone sculptures which inhabit the floor and the walls respectively. Haku-u (2008) is a composition in white stone whose material plane is fractured as though through the spiralling of an illusory undercurrent. The smoothened skin of Haku-u (meaning ‘White Rain’) is punctuated with a myriad of distended blemishes resembling the splashes of pebble-drops in water. The lustrous swellings stir from their marble bed which evokes a traversal of environmental states and, in doing so, illuminates an uneasy liaison between object and space. Its disjointed surface functions as a fallacious memorial to the vast fleshliness of the sea in which the lapping gradients of the waters are stifled into an artificial rhythm.

In contrast to the silken marble of Haku-u, Glade (2011) consists of five black granite pillars which are crafted from a furrowed sculptural tissue. Just as tree saplings can be moulded into unnaturally manicured formations, Takeshi’s forms are teased into subtly arching postures against their spatial supports. The limb-like pillars appear shrunken in the elevated heights of the Corn Exchange Gallery and there is something almost melancholic about their clinging dependence on the walls. Faintly recalling Toya Shigeo’s carved wooden sculptures, they share more in common with withered headstones than living boughs. Unlike trees, however which are coupled together by the interlacing tendrils that anchor them to the ground, Takeshi’s stones are severed from the earth and distanced from each other in a synthetic alignment.

The discord between internal and external space is articulated by the French philosopher Jean Hyppolite who wrote that ‘beyond what is expressed in their formal opposition lie alienation and hostility between the two’. In this manner Takeshi reveals the discomfiture with which his sculptures sit in their internal dwellings, as they blister like the skin of marine animals or choke in the shade of the gallery’s interior. The continuous and elemental nature of the stones is splintered into a crowd of estranged shards. Perhaps in an attempt to reconcile us with their immeasurable form, Takeshi has composed a human-sized portrait of environmental elements through an absorbing series of disconnected vignettes.