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Solo Exhibition: Akiko Hirai "Trace of Scent"

6 - 16 November 
PV: 6 November 6:30 pm

Zan-Ko  - 残香

One morning I was on the staircase going upstairs and suddenly noticed a sweet, floral odour. It reminded me of a perfume that someone was wearing. It evoked in me a very pleasant feeling that was pulling out a smile on the very edge of my eyes, not a full smile, just a smile on a tip of my eyes. It must have reminded me of a nice experience I had before, but I cannot remember who or what it was.  

I saw my neighbour opening his door and I thought he was wearing the perfume, but when I walked close to him for the greeting, I noticed it was not him. The floral scent was left in the atmosphere by someone. 

We call it “Zan-ko” or “Nokori-ga” in Japanese. I find it very difficult to find the equivalent word in English as the English word “lingering” has a negative notion. Nokori-ga is more like the aftersound of a bell, some kind of vibration remaining in your ear, in this case in your sense of smell.

Some objects have this trace of scent. When you see it, when you touch it, it evokes an unidentified strange sensation in you.  

In this exhibition, I am focusing on making domestic and unfunctional objects that have a trace of scent and generate some narrative.

Ambiguity is (was) supposed to be a virtue in postmodern to recent Japan. In some postmodern literature, authors omitted the subject in a sentence on purpose, so that the sentence could be interpreted in many ways. Some stories are loosely ended so that the readers are left in an aftersound of narratives with a strange sensation. The sensation that is not identifiable in words.  Translation of these written materials into English can be extremely difficult because of this ambiguity. 

Naturally some Japanese words have this ambiguity.”

Akiko Hirai        


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