Celebrating the beauty and diversity of Japanese culture, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) will unveil its new exhibition, Primal Water, on June 29. The collection, curated by Midori Nishizawa, uses water as a motif to connect an array of distinct contemporary Japanese works.
Primal Water includes 28 works in various forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, site-specific installation and film. The 14 featured artists span over four generations, and each work approaches the theme of water in different ways: from documenting its absence, capturing its abundance, decontextualizing its existence and exploring its relationship with humanity.
“Life revolves around water, and regions with an abundance of water fostered the growth of civilization around the globe. Las Vegas, having prospered as an oasis in the desert, has a meaningful connection with this theme,” said Midori Nishizawa, independent curator of the exhibition. “These artworks allow us to contemplate water as the source of life and the dangers of its depletion. Featuring such artworks in Primal Water draws attention to the preciousness of water.”
Primal Water includes works such as Shōji Ueda’s Seascape (1933) and portraits of his family at the Tottori Sand Dunes taken from 1949 to 1963; Japanese scientist Ukichiro Nakaya’s pioneering film Snow Crystals (1939), which documents his research of the formation of snowflakes; and Noriyuki Haraguchi’s Ship 13 (1966), a sculpture inspired by battleships located on the U.S. Naval base at Yokosuka, home to Haraguchi and the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet. The exhibition also includes several commissioned and site-specific works, including Vertical Emptiness BG, 2018, a large installation created from local Mesquite tree branches and other materials, then suspended from the ceiling by Yasuaki Onishi. Additionally, for the first time, the exhibit expands beyond the walls of the gallery, with Water (Mizu), 1956/2018 by Sadamasa Motonaga installed in the lobby atrium of ARIA Resort & Casino.
Further artists featured in the exhibition include Noe Aoki, Kōji Enokura, Yayoi Kusama, Yukio Nakagawa, Fujiko Nakaya, Rei Naito, Machiko Ogawa, Motonao Takasaki and Nao Yoshigai.
Primal Water will be on view Friday, June 29 through Sunday, Oct. 21.