Written by Triin Pehk
The windows and glass doors of the A4 gallery have been darkened. When stepping in, you are greeted by a giant bright chandelier that dominates the middle of the dark room. It is constructed of thousands of neon green glass beads with its candles replaced by neon purple energy-saving light bulbs. It is a vivid and beautiful sight.
The sign in front of the artwork announces they are constructed from uranium glass. Uranium?! The sign reassures the trace amounts of radiation are not enough to pose a health risk. Even so, it is difficult to put the words “uranium” and “radiation” out of mind while walking through this unusual exhibition. Upstairs, the neon-green installations continue. A six metre-long 3D bull ant made of glowing beads is mesmerizing but despite the signs’ reassurances, it is hard to avoid a sense of uneasiness and anxiety – this is what authors Ken and Julia Yonetani wanted. Their work is inspired by a long history of concerns over the use of nuclear power and its impact in Australia and Japan. The title of the exhibition is a reference to a Japanese post-war movie in which the birds were said to flee if they only knew the hidden threats to their environment.
Until Sep 22, A4 Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181-187 Hay St, Sydney, free, 9212 0380, 4a.com.au