Rikuo Ueda is an artist who has found in the contemplation and harnessing of a natural force, the wind, a deep and poetic source to base his artistic career on. The artist builds wonderful, mechanically functional installations, his ‘wind houses’. These constructs explore various concepts in human interaction with the environment, while producing drawings just as unique, artifacts from the interaction of man, artifice and nature.
Rikuo Ueda describes himself as ‘the artist who loves the wind.’ Initially beginning with the study of technology in Osaka, he found himself compelled to travel the world in search of meaning, and to withdraw from what he experienced as the treadmill of industrialized society. As he traveled, his experiences led him closer to a sense of his own roots, sensations of the close relationship that exists between coastal island dwellers and the wind. His fascination with this natural force led to comparisons with human life and takes several forms in his work. In Japanese the word for wind is kaze, having a range of meanings much as the varying degrees of a wind’s intensity. Looking at relationships between art, the flow of life, and the structures we dwell in, we displayed his Wind Drawings, results from the various techniques developed in his particular discipline. An interpretive display accompanied an example of his Wind Houses. These structures seek to draw from the harmonious simplicity of Japanese building methods, the minimal use of effort and space in urban dwellings, and the impermanent nature of human structures. Ueda then adds the dynamic and literal force of the wind, harnessed with integrated and equally simple devices, positioned stylus and paper, bringing a natural force indoors and capturing a reflection of its mark upon our own lives.
Ueda produces work that deals substantially with the impact of the mark, offering an opportunity to consider the variations of pressure, pigment, stroke and direction. By considering the conceptual perspectives on how these marks are obtained and pronounced, we encounter very personal motivations anchored in the phenomena of the natural world. Meanwhile, in the exhibited work itself, we are invited to re-experience the personification of a natural element to arrive at a kinesthetic action of creation. At least half of the exhibit forcuses on the unique way this artist records them, as he subtly constructs sensitive structures to guide, shape and capture marks from the movements of wind.
"Contrary to this, in his art, the accidental quality of nature is more of an original element than our human intentionality. The existence of Nature acquires priority over any action of the human hand, directing our minds to observe an essential truth. Nature itself is a solemn and dignified arrangement, but the works of human beings can hardly be called the same. Forgetting such premises, people in modern society daringly build up an artificial world, one opposed to nature. This can be seen as a conceit, because it has caused environmental problems, such as pollution. Ueda has raised the big questions of what art should be and the existence of human beings themselves through his work, "wind drawing'." - Kimura Shigenobu
The work of Rikuo Ueda can be best appreciated by looking at the critical acclaim he has received. Throughout Europe, his invention met with popular acclaim, swept up in that culture’s passionate embrasure of environmental cleanup, he has fascinated the public with his installations that lend a visually artistic voice to nature. In 2002 the Kunst Kas in Holland installed eight different wind drawing structures on its beautiful grounds. Over the past two decades he has received continual interest in Germany and Denmark, while Switzerland, Brazil, Taiwan, the United States and France have offered up large exhibition spaces, indoors and outdoors, to display his work. The installations are fascinating enough in themselves, but combined with the affable charm and energy of the artist the artwork is irresistible. In a museum display in Denmark, Ueda constructed a special device that allowed him to stretch out in a prone position and recreate, through an artifice, the energy behind his wind capturing devices, filtering down his physical motion into an extended reach, seeking out a relationship between his own movements and the force of the wind.
by Rikuo Ueda
I was waiting for the perfect day
When I became the surface of a lake
Lying in the Tibetan mountains,
It has been reflecting everything
For countless thousand of years.
I was waiting for a calm day.
The sky dissolved into the lake;
Clouds flowed over the lake;
Migrating birds crossed over the lake.
A sudden wind carried everything away
Toward the shore of the lake
And the sky stretched over us all again.
We have everything already in our hands.
It was when I was twenty-three years old,
Wandering, traveling around aimlessly,
Seeing snow in Norway,
Desert in Morocco,
Mountains in Afghanistan,
Rivers in India.
In Germany, I wandered about, penniless,
Where I met a Scottish guy named Peter.
He also had no money.
He gave me a poem he had written for my birthday
I think we think too much
And fail to see
In simple things reflections of eternity
We are cut off from our own life sources
And love is lost, a source of
Joy and Ecstasy.
And in Denmark, I met a wind…