Curated by Rossella Menegazzo
Suiray – Hisui No Hikari. Placenta is the proposal by the Japanese designer and photographer, Yuki Seli (1969) for the Venice Design Biennial.
The photography project, curated by Rossella Menegazzo in collaboration with L’angolo del passato by Giordana Naccari, takes inspiration from the Venetian tradition of the glassmaking. Namely from the "momoeto", the formless blob of glass that the glass master cuts away from the final piece. In that state, the glass, still opaque, filters the light. The artist compares the colour and light nuances that glass has in this state to the many hues of the jade. This way, he coins the word Suiray to refer to this state of the glass. Ray stands literally for "ray", hence, light and transparency; Sui instead evokes the shimmering nuances of the jade, but refers subtly to death, recalling even the root of suicide.
What fascinates Yuki Seli of the momoeto is its disposable nature; the momoeto is thrown away once the matter for the future glass piece has been taken out. In this sense, Seli compares the momoeto to a placenta which wraps the foetus during the nine months of pregnancy, playing an indispensable role but becoming useless to the new-born outside of the womb.
In tune with the traditional Japanese aesthetics of valuing what is commonly considered waste or defect, Yuki Seli claims the beauty of this primaeval state of the glass, saying that in such objects one can observe the stratification of history, and a human being’s life. ‘We used to be drawn towards the external beauty of things, and we forget that the brightness we perceive is most likely the result of a deep internal stratification’.
Yuki Seli kept on working on the Suiray Placenta series and presented another chapter of his project in Venice, coinciding with the 57th Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2017.