curtin5I had the good fortune to be out at Curtin University for a meeting today and whilst there was reminded of a current exhibition that is now showing until the 17th of April at the John Curtin Gallery so thought I would head in and take a look!  I had heard some great reviews on both aspects of this exhibition and wanted to check it out for myself to see that it was all about and to experience both aspects of it and how amazing it turned out to be.

Paramodel Paramodelic-graffiti and The Tenth Sentiment are 2 very different and complex installations that offer two very different visions of train travel.  A part of the Perth International Arts Festival and as a highlight of the John Curtin Gallery’s 2014 exhibition program the visiting artist Yasuhiko Hayashi has created the largest installation of Paramodelic-graffiti ever undertaken.  This is a large scale installation that is amazing in it feat of ingenuity and it has been meticulously designed specifically for the spaces inside the gallery.  This exhibition combines the assembly of over 10,000 individual components in an area of over 650 m. Paramodel is a partnership between Yasuhiko and Yusuke Nakano and their highly skilled assistants.

This partnership was born in 2001 and these artists have collaborated under the name of Paramodel which is a blending of the words paradise and model and a play on the Japanese word ‘puramoderu’ that translates as a plastic model.  What a perfect name for this incredible blend of mass produced plastics, playrail, toys and everyday materials.  With the use of computer design paths to map the way for their installations they do however take on a very different vision when realised in the gallery space that really showcases this high-end design that also has a feeling of being really organic and free flowing.  It is like stepping into a futuristic vision of train tracks mixed with other landscape in a frenetic yet ordered way.

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This is not just on the ground but on the walls and the ceiling to create a surreal and fantastical cityscape.  This has a distinct Japanese aesthetic that reminds of the vast numbers of slender vertical buildings reaching the sky on land in Tokyo central.  Variations of these visions have been created for audiences in Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Switzerland and now Australia.  As I said before they used over 10,000 pieces of plastic blue train track, the kind that is popular in Japan and has been on the market there since 1959 by toy maker Tomy.  You can also find amongst all this structure some cranes surrounded by piles and unassembled elements that can perhaps be interpreted to emphasise the incessant nature of construction or even perhaps signalling the move towards their next installation.  This is a fun, intense and structured installation that you can spend ages in wondering through and every way you look and turn your eyes is taken in by something new and different that you want to explore.

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Standing alongside this is the very different and almost Zen like in comparison The Tenth Sentiment by Ryota Kuwakubo.  It offers another take on the idea of trains and tracks and uses everyday items in a darkened room and a small train on a track with a single light attached to illuminate its pathway and to send onto the wall an every changing shadow effect that is mesmerising.  It was so easy to just sit and watch both the train, the silhouettes as they evolved and changed shape and get lost in this transition.  After experiencing the wonder of the Paramodel installation this was like an oasis of silence, darkness, shadow and intensity whilst at the same time allowing you to sit, take a breath and just enjoy the different elements of this installation.  After the chaos of everyday life it was so nice to spend 20 minutes just sitting and enjoying everything in this space and you could feel your heart rate slowing down as you follow the train on its journey.

As I said before both of these installations are on at the John Curtin gallery out at Curtin University until April 17 and it is free admission.

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The John Curtin Gallery is open from Monday to Friday 11am – 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 5pm. 

The gallery is located at Building 200A, Curtin University and you enter the campus via the main entrance from Kent Street, Bentley.

Phone: 9226 4155

Email: gallery@curtin.edu.au