“Why is a painting dry? Why isn’t a painting alive?” It was that simple question that inspired Akiko Nakayama to create “Alive Paintings” that captures the vibrant movement, fluidity, energy and ephemerality of life by depicting the flow of paint and water.
Depending on when the frame is frozen, still shots of Nakayama’s paintings can look like topographic heat maps visualizing some obscure data point. But to really appreciate its beauty, the 29-year old’s Alive Paintings must be ‘unfrozen’ and observed over a period of time as they, by definition, are continuously changing.
In what is a cross between performance art and installation, Nakayama uses a multitude of kitchen basters loaded with paint and water to add, mix, tilt, blow and add all sorts of extraneous effects to her paints, recording and projecting it all onto a large screen. The result is a mesmerizing show of organic movements the resembles life itself viewed under a magnifying glass.
In recent years she’s also added sound as another dimension to her work, as has collaborated with different musicians in liver performances. Most recently she performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at KLASSIK Underground in Tokyo. I think part of the allure of Nakayama’s paintings is that while she is seemingly in control and always appears to be present, much of what she creates is left up to chance.
You can see more of Akiko Nakayama’s work on her website. You can also follow her on Twitter.