Spring Bug, 2004. Rubber and metal, 2 x 4 x .8 meters.

Sculpture in the Everyday World: Akira Sakai

One doesn’t simply look at the work of Akira Sakai. Instead, one becomes involved in it, wrapped up and embraced by something that demands to be considered. With express intentions to penetrate the domain of everyday life, the artist has set out to envelop senses both inside and outside the gallery. Based in Fukuoka prefecture of western Japan, Sakai uses raw materials culled from a family-owned tire re-treading business. His hometown of Kurume, the birthplace of the Bridgestone tire company, has a long history of industrial manufacturing. Akira “Zon” Sakai’s early experiments with rubber tubing are full of bulging curves, at once familiar yet warped in their umbilical-like tangle. In Decreasing Entropy (1997) for Art Bank WALD in Fukuoka, a heaving mass of jet-black tire rubber lay twisted and knotted around itself, as if something caught within the digestive tract had been surgically removed, then left on the gallery floor. The striking size of the piece, which filled much of the large space, created a certain implosion.