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Population, pollution, global concerns inspire large-scale university installation



style="MARGIN: auto 0in"> 45-FOOT SCAFFOLDING
University students worked with Hachiyanagi over a week in late September to construct the installation, which necessitated the use of 45-foot scaffolding to reach the highest points of the gallery.

 "Fundamentally, Rie is working both with and against the architecture, working with and against our expectations experiencing the space and our relation to it, and working with and against our framework for how art can use subject matter and express a commentary for awareness," Hils said.

Hachiyanagi is an associate professor of art at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She originally came to the United States from Japan as a high school exchange student in Kansas and has lived in this country ever since. Her interest in visual art developed from her initial difficulty communicating in English. Now a nationally recognized installation and performance artist, she utilizes traditional papermaking and light to comment on autobiographical and social issues. "One Million Every Four Days" is her first exhibit in Oklahoma.

"Contemporary art's mission is to continually inform us of our world," Hils said. "Rie's approach, I think, will connect with anyone who comes to the work with an open mind and is willing to give themselves to an experience that may not exactly deliver tranquility in its concept, but will inspire contemplation of each individual's situation in this large, yet infinitely smaller world today."

Hachiyanagi acknowledges that even if we recognize that the world is overpopulated, "we tend to be truly happy for the births among our family and friends" and saddened by the deaths of those around us.

"My objective is not to impose my political views on anyone, but to provoke thoughts and conversations surrounding the sensitive, complex issues of population," she said.

Although visitors may only view the installation once, students at the school of art will pass by it every day, seeing it from different angles and different floors as they go to class.

"My hope is that the installation continues to be thought provoking as they see different dimensions of the work over time," Hachiyanagi said. "Many art students will have made a part of the installation, which would be a special connection to the piece. I would like their making process to be part of the artwork, not just the end results."

"One Million Every Four Days" will be displayed through Nov. 21. For more information, call 325-2691.

"?Allison Meier


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