What the exhibition title “Prism and Lag” implies – interpreting what it means to unravel a piece of fabric

I learned that the key word for this exhibition is the word “rainbow.” To tell the truth, I had never thought about the relevance of rainbow to my work until I was offered to have this exhibition. Nevertheless, this exhibition prompted me to ponder it, therefore I will present in the following what I thought about when I was drawing up the exhibition title.

A rainbow appears when a spectrum of light becomes visible as a result of the refraction, reflection and dispersion of light in water droplets. Positing on this, the title of the exhibition, “Prism and Lag” refers to the mechanism of how a rainbow emerges. In other words, this exhibition intends to visualise the invisible mechanism latent in ways in which rainbows emerge. Moreover, it acts like an apparatus that allows the mystery of rainbows to be unveiled.

Also, the word “lag” refers to deviation occurring between things, as it pertains to “time lag” and “jet lag.” Indeed, the inspiration behind the use of the word “lag” comes from the fact that a rainbow appears due to the refraction and dispersion of light, which encompasses a kind of “deviation.” And the reason why I added the word “lag” to the word “prism” as a part of the exhibition title is because the idea of “deviation” or “not quite fitting in” plays a crucial role in my art practice.

The reason why I attempt to show the process of unravelling and reconstructing the fabric in my work is because I intend to propose an alternative possibility or to cause a kind of “deviation” or “disruption” as to the predefined notion of how the history should be read and understood.

Because time is irreversible, one cannot choose two options at the same time. Feeling as if cutting up ourselves into pieces, we can only select one choice at a time. To choose one option means that many unselected possibilities are discarded during the process of decision-making. Moreover, if fabric that we see today is the product of prolonging time passage, we can also say that it is built upon the accumulation of numerous discarded decisions and their unrealised potentials.

And what it means to unravel a piece of fabric as the accumulation of unselected decisions and discarded possibilities is akin to examining their potentials while having the glimpses of the invisible that fills up the micro space between firmly woven threads. Also, it is to be aware that we tend to live only inside prejudices underpinned by what is visible to us. By staring at these invisible possibilities in an attempt to quantify their potentials, we can attain a kind of momentary freedom, which gives us power and courage to choose new possibilities.

There is a 100-year gap between myself, the Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painters, such as Monet and Signac that share the same space in this exhibition. There is also a gap between their eras when they tried to emancipate themselves from the geometric theory of perspective in an attempt to acquire more subjective visual perception and our current situation unfolding in the context of contemporary art. Despite the situational and circumstantial differences to be found between us, in the sense that both of us pursued ways of making the invisible visible, which the word “prism” constitutes, all of us are closely connected as if two ends of a thread are tying a knot.


Aiko Tezuka,
2011 in London