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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An ode to colour: The Forest of Numbers!

By Rita Roy Choudhury
Photography: Daisuke Shima; courtesy the designer
Read Time: 1 min 30 secs

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A recent unique installation in the National Art Centre, Tokyo, evoked a walk in a field of dreams; at once sunny and sometimes tropical. It reshaped both, moods and space…



To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the National Art Centre, Tokyo, architect-designer and artist-colourist, Emmanuelle Moureaux, in the month of January, put together a memorable installation in its White Cube exhibition room.  
 
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The 20, 000 sq. ft. exhibition space was brought to life with an immersive multi-coloured, layered curtain of cut-out numbers cascading from the ceiling in an aptly titled“Forest of Numbers”.
 
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More than 60,000 pieces of suspended numerals from 0 to 9 were repeatedly aligned in three dimensional grids. To commemorate 10 years of the museum, the installation was composed of 10 layers. Each layer used 4 digits to express the relevant year such as 2, 0, 1, and 7 for 2017 randomly positioned on the grids. The numbers were quite literally cardboard cut-outs in varying colours, creating a vivid shimmer in the all-white room.

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As part of Emmanuelle’s ‘100 colours’ series, this installation too invited people to play with the hanging digits, to walk and mingle with the merging bands of colours and adding intrigue to awe – locate the silhouettes of two girls and a cat that were ‘lost’ inside the installation.  
 
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Viewers could experience varying 3D views from different vantage points.   While from one mesmerising angle from the perimeter of the installation, the viewer could observe radiant sheets of colour that seemed to collapse into each other, defying viewers to “part the waters” and walk through the cleavaged warp; in another intriguing experience, one could walk through a canopy of bands of colour, as if being led to a garden path through a wayward forest.  

Augmenting the experience and reminding the viewers of the actual purpose of this colourful conundrum, was a compilation of exhibition posters from the last 10 years on one wall; whilst the wall opposite simply expressed the next 10 years with white numbers.
 
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Walking down the striated wall of numerals, the installation successfully reshaped the experience of the space around the viewer. Whilst the numbers grounded the experience, the colours made it emotive!

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