Alessandra Cianetti is a London-based curator, project manager, and researcher. Her work explores urgent socio-political issues through contemporary art practices with a focus on intersectional and transnational borders. Currently, she is Project Manager for the Bagri Foundation which supports artists and creatives from Asia and its diaspora. Over the years, Alessandra has worked on multi-disciplinary visual and performance art projects across Europe, Asia, and internationally in partnership with museums, arts organisations, community centres, and universities. Her activities have been supported, among others, by the Arts Council England, the European Cultural Foundation, and the National Arts Council Singapore.
Aiko Miyawaki (b. 1929 Tokyo, Japan – d. 2014, Kanagawa, Japan)
Oil and powdered marble on plywood board
72.5 x 60.5 cm
For someone like myself, whose background is in contemporary and performance art, these past months spent immersed in Islamic geometry, Indian votive motifs, and Chinese porcelain from the Asian Art in London team and participant galleries, have been a real treat. When asked to select from the images of this year’s event edition, I couldn’t help being attracted by a contemporary artist who also celebrates craft, materiality, and the power of the ephemeral: Aiko Miyawaki.
Her Untitled (1960) is often referenced as a ‘painting’ with quotations marks because of her use of non-traditional materials such as powdered marble in this case, that gives the work its uneven yet hypnotic surface. Even through its digital image, the work clearly shows Miyawaki’s eye for structures and patterns and anticipates her move, in the late ‘60s, towards the sculptural works for which she is renowned.
The Tokyo-born artist once said, “I lost all interest in stories which have a beginning, and an end, in bold shapes, bright colours” therefore, in her practice, she focused on the continuous search for the aranumono – that which is not there.
In 2021, a year of collective rebuilding, this work by an artist like Miyawaki whose life – but not creative drive – has been marked by illness, provides us with a meditative space where the fragmented whiteness of the ‘canvas’ demands us to take a pause, look deeply, and keep searching for meanings.
An Exceptional Jewel Encrusted Indian Shamshir
The hilt is in the form of a Makara, the Legendary Sea-creature in Hindu Culture
Pair of Chinese porcelain famille verte, wucai dated vases of meiping form, each painted with a scene of a provincial governor being reassigned and departing to his assigned post
12 inches, 30.5 cm high.
The bases with four-character marks, xinsi nian zhi, in underglaze blue within a double ring and of the period, corresponding to the xinsi year, 1701.
A Balinese dancer’s mask (topeng)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment, mother of pearl, traces of gold leaf
15 x 19 cm