In the Loop

UTSUSEMI | Nobuho Nagasawa

  • Date & Time
    • Monday, July 11, 2016 2:00pm to 4:00pm
    • Wednesday, July 13, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
    • Thursday, July 14, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
    • Friday, July 15, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
    • Wednesday, July 20, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
    • Thursday, July 21, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
    • Friday, July 22, 2016 12:00pm to 2:00pm
  • Cost
    • Free
  • Description

    The title Utsusemi derives from two Japanese characters representing emptiness and cicada. Combined together the characters mean shell of cicada. Metaphorically the word Utsusemi implies an awareness of impermanence, a literary and aesthetic concept cultivated in eighth century Japan known as "Mono no Aware." At its core is a deep empathic appreciation of the ephemeral beauty manifest in synaesthesia.

    Viewers enter the installation along a path as they approach three hundred and sixty-five cicadas cast in resin arranged in a logarithmic spiral. The sounds of cicadas envelop the space. Cicadas symbolize immortality and the ultimate prospect of transcendent rebirth. Some are known to live in the earth for seventeen years, finally emerging only to shed their skin, sing, mate and die.

    A large tightly framed image of the artist’s throat, resembling a landscape, is projected onto this wall. Breathing, a once sensuous and tempting gesture can become agonizing and painful at life’s end. The cicadas shimmer and spiral outward from the center while a bronze lotus is suspended above the viewer. Similar to cicadas, lotuses grow in the mud and rise to bloom, symbolizing the human capacity to rise above the world’s impurities.

    The entire floor is covered with rock salt, which signifies the Japanese ritual of purification. Light enveloping the space breathes slowly as the artist’s voice is barely heard, creating an intimate experience. The metaphoric center of this installation is a wooden pier leading toward the sound and light, which one must enter alone. The path is an entrance to the liminality between life and death.

    “By revealing personal memories, histories, myths, and contradictory issues of human nature, I explore social and personal facets that galvanize public interaction. Art can provide visual poetry in the environment as well as function as a catalyst to deconstruct and re-invent a new vision for society.”

    To learn more about artist Nobuho Nagasawa, please visit

  • Venue
    Gary R. Libby University Gallery
    400 SW 13th Street
    Fine Arts Building B (FAB)
    FL 32611
    (352) 273-3000
    Gary R. Libby University Gallery Website