Hiroyuki Hamada: Interstellar Overdrive

Interstellar Overdrive

Text by Rupert Goldsworthy
July 7, 2015

#59 juts through the wall like the the fuselage tip of a spaceship that has randomly crashed down to Earth and into a museum gallery. The egg-like shape suggests latency, pregnancy, the feeling that it might be a weapon or a secret device that may suddenly give birth. It spotlights the quasi-religious wonder and anxiety that technology now provokes in us.

Hamada's sculptures would make excellent props for 60s or 70s sci-fi movies, à la 2001: A Space Odyssey or Alien. They also recall the machine finish of Modernist 50s artists like Myron Stout or Craig Kauffman, or a more contemporary sculptor like Martin Puryear. But unlike Kauffman’s factory-fresh appeal, Hiroyuki Hamada’s works have a deliberately weathered appearance, as if worn down by centuries of interstellar travel. They look battered, cryptic, strange but familiar, like second-hand iPads from the year 3000. They seem used, slightly obsolete, but still functional.

The sculptures' titles are simply numbers and this obliqueness seems intentional to resist any complete reading. Unsurprisingly, given the cryptic nature of his work, Hamada is elusive about the genesis of his ideas:

"I see myself as some sort of a medium. I feel that the sculptures come from somewhere bigger... Usually the core idea comes out of brainstorming in my sketch book. That fragment, or the seed of the piece, gets developed as I build the shape and the surface."

Hamada births his own unique language across a suite of outer space sepulchral sculptures. And a significant element to his practice is his total immersion in every aspect of the presentation of his work.

"I also like to be involved in the installation process. I often do the lighting and most of the pictures of my works are taken by me. That is the surest way to make sure that the works are seen as I intend them to be. The environment for the piece is a part of the work."

Hiroyuki Hamada is represented by Lori Bookstein Fine Art in New York.