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For some years now, Azusa Kuno has been collecting cut hair from a dozen Berlin barber shops; she washes and spins the hair into a yarn and then knits the yarn into a multiform, continuously growing installation, the „Spaces of Hair“. The complex work deals with the issues of body, society, gender and symbol.

As exceptional as human hair as a working material in the visual arts is, in the history of civilization it is most present. For thousands of years, hair and hairstyles have been mirroring their societies; they permeate fairy tales and myths, suffice it to mention Rapunzel and Loreley, Samson and Delilah. More recently, it was discovered that a person’s hair displays his complete genetic structure and history. Each individual hair is like a rough diary of a person’s life cycle, an intimate mirror of his self.

Azusa-Kuno_Spaces-of-hair_2011-Plan

Draft, 2011

From her earlier architectural studies, Azusa Kuno took the idea that architecture works as an interface between the human body and the surrounding world. The „Spaces of Hair“ continues this idea. The artist sees the human body as a field for the interaction between the self and „the others“, referring to the philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas and the psychologist Jacques Lacan („alterity“). The body is present not only through the hairs. With its tube-like convolutions and linkages, the constrictions and expansions, the sculpture, developing into a room-size installation, resembles a lively, growing organ.

Individual persons’ hairs are carefully separated from each other, and the result is a continuously changing play of colors, from a light blonde to a dark brunette, via Titian red. The hairs that Asuza collected during a period of studies in the Austrian city of Graz were knitted into an object of its own that is separate as well as a part of the whole. The artist intends to continue her work with hairs from other countries, even continents. „The more different parts from different places exist,“ she says, „the more difficult it is in the end to assign the components, and the overall picture cannot be divided in its individual parts. This is the only way, in my view, to create an image of the ‚other’“.

Single segments of the installation can be purchased separately, however, they remain part of the complete work.

For further information please visit the artist’s website: Azusa Kuno.

biography

1980 born in Aichi, Japan, lives and works in Berlin

2012-13 Master class Christiane Möbus
2008-12 studied visual arts, Universität der Künste Berlin, with Christiane Möbus
2003-05 further architectural studies at Stuttgart University
1995-2001 studied architecture at the „Toyota National College of Technology“ in Aichi, Japan; graduated with Japanese Kousen diploma

exhibitions

2015 “Tokyo Story 2015”, Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo, Tokyo, Japan
2014 “Totality and Infinity, an Essay on Exteriority”, Tokyo Wonder Site c/o Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin. Ssolo show
“The Wearable Art Show“, KNIPSU, Bergen, Norway
“hortus semper virens”, Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin
“ROTROTROT”, Schau Fenster – Raum für Kunst, Berlin
“Am Limit”, Kunstraum t27, Berlin
“The Wearable Art Show”, GaDeWe, Bremen
“Distant Observations. Fukushima in Berlin“, Kunstraum Bethanien, Berlin
“Infinity Jetzt“, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Berlin
2013 “Spaces of Hair”, Master Students Exhibition, Universität der Künste, Berlin
“Traces”, Atelierhof Kreuzberg, Berlin
2012 Show of Graduates of the Universität der Künste, Berlin
2011 “Baumann & Fuchs”, Anton von Werner Haus, Berlin
“Babel, we are not mad with you”, RONDO, Graz, Austria
2010 “Geist IV“, Berlin
“Blooomaward 2010 Prize Winners Show“, Art Fair 21 Cologne
“Geist III“, Auguststraße, Berlin
“Grand Slam“, Büro Adalbert am Forum Factory Berlin, Berlin

awards & grants

2014 Tokyo Wonder Site, creator in Residence, Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin
2013 Grant of the Bernhard-Heiliger-Foundation, Berlin
2012 Studies grant (Sammelstiftung I), Akademie der Künste Berlin
2011 Graduation grant with support from the DAAD
Five months residence grant of the Province of Styria, Graz, Austria
2010 Blooom Award by Warsteiner 2010, Final List, Köln

Spaces of Hair

Since 2010, work in progress

Human hair

Metal scaffolding

Size: ca. 3 x 5 m, height 3,5 m

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