Paris-based artist Tadashi Kawamata has unveiled an immersive installation made up of ocean plastic in the Oval Gallery of Lisbon‘s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. Tadashi Kawamata’s solo exhibition Over Flow at MAAT’s Oval Gallery is centered around questions of global ecology and tourism. The monumental installation invites the viewer to experience a seascape of remains which follows an ecological catastrophe, where debris transported by the world’s seas are imagined to engulf civilization.
The Japanese artist, who is known worldwide for his large-scale sustainable architectural environments, developed this project during one year of research and fieldwork in Portugal, culminating in a workshop with artists and architects led by architectural collective Os Espacialistas.
The large-scale commission at MAAT integrates both plastic residues and abandoned boats collected on Portugal’s shores during beach cleaning campaigns by volunteer organization Brigada do Mar, Almada City Hall and the Fishing Port of Nazaré. These elements come together in a sculptural form that evokes the polluting elements aggregated by the perpetual movements of the ocean, as well as global tourism and its fatal consumption of natural resources.
In creating this piece, Kawamata was responding to his memory of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, but also echoing the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology’s (MAAT) location near the coast. The exhibition is curated by MAAT director Pedro Gadanho and curator Marta Jecu. The work is the sixth site-specific commission for the Oval Gallery, and draws on existing themes in the artist’s body of work. “Kawamata has often worked with themes of overconsumption and excess, and working for the first time with plastic debris logically related to the accounts of maritime trash arriving in the region’s coastal areas,” said Gadanho.
The exhibition runs until 1 April 2019 at the MAAT’s Oval Gallery. Other exhibitions running simultaneously include a work curated by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset called Scenario in the Shade, that looks at urbanism, community, ritual and psychopharmacology.