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Deep in a Japanese Forest, a Wooden Vortex Awaits

Step inside the staggering orange pavillion that is Uliana Apatina's 'SYU IRO.'
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A pavilion constructed from pieces of cedar painted orange lies embedded in the forest in Minamioguni, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Entitled SYU IRO「朱色 しゅいろ」, which translates to “Kind of Red Color,” the installation’s hue resembles that of Torii gates, the entrances to Japanese shinto shrines.

For London-based artist Uliana Apatina, a 2014 International Artist-in-Residence in Aso, SYU IRO was born without a model or even any preconceived ideas. “Organically emerging from the surroundings, it is a being born during a process of me inhabiting a site, which I otherwise call a construction process,” she writes in an article for AA Conversations.


Apatina used a Japanese joinery technique to connect the pieces together, a skill she learned from scratch when she arrived in Japan. Under the mentorship of local carpenter and temple builder, Kira, she took up woodworking. The installation is an interesting contradiction, she adds, because the angular and chaotic form is non-traditional but was formed using classical methods.

“Metaphysically and philosophically, ‘Syu Iro’ does not have any static moments—perspective constantly shifts, both vertically and horizontally, to create a dynamic and unpredictable experience,” she points out. The space can be experienced in two ways: from inside, on a bed of cedar chips, and as flashes of orange from a distance, beyond a wood of bamboo trees.

Below, step inside Uliana Apatina's SYU IRO:

「朱色 しゅいろ」 SYU IRO from Uliana Apatina on Vimeo.

Visit Uliana Apatina's website for more from the artist.


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