press release

For nearly 200 years, visual artists visiting the region have been inspired by the exquisite light and atmosphere of the Cornish landscape, capturing, in paintings and sculpture, a unique spirit of place. It is the intuitive response to place which motivates the site-specific installations of glass artist Keiko Mukaide (b1954).

Born in Japan, now living and working in Fife on the Scottish coast, Mukaide's work evolves not only from an aesthetic response to the surrounding landscape, but through a greater fascination with both its histories and natural rhythms. In her new commission for the 55 foot-long, sea-facing showcase at Tate St Ives, the artist has created an installation of brilliant coloured light using shards of dichroic glass, centrally lit by a beehive light-house lens. In dialogue with the maritime heritage of both her adopted Scottish home and Cornwall’s St Ives, the work also probes ideas about human perceptions of the landscape, deriving from both a real and imaged experience. Reminiscent of Constructivist sculptor’s Naum Gabo's translucent Perspex spirals or painter Wilhelmina Barns-Grahams studies of sparkling glacial forms made in the mid-twentieth century, Mukaide uses the translucent and prismatic properties of glass as a metaphor for the unseen forces of nature, which sustain the forms and structures we physically encounter. A notion, as we are reminded by the landscapes of JMW Turner – in the adjacent galleries – which are infused with a divine light, seems inextricably bound up with our philosophical and spiritual sensibilities.

A publication will accompany this exhibition with an essay by Roanne Dods, director of the Jerwood Foundation.


Keiko Mukaide
Glass Installation