Ai Kitahara

Aurérien Vernant

Through a series of mixed media works such as installations, miniature models and drawings Ai Kitahara is exploring the idea of frontier.
By stating that the limits of a defined space entrap and protect at the same time, the artist tries to represent the « in between inside and outside ». She tries to define this visible or invisible line that is physical as much as psychological and symbolic.
Often, her works (doors, walls, doorknobs,…) look like familiar elements from day to day furniture.
However, as she removes them from their original context, Ai Kitahara creates new mental spaces. By « deterritorializing » these objects, she reflects on the opposition of exclusion and inclusion. Poignee 2009 (handle), is an isolated doorknob fixed in the middle of a wall. Its continuous rotating movement does not suggest the idea of opening a door but rather the impossibility to access whatever is behind the wall.
Confident / Confider (2008) is also the fruit of a dialectical encounter between two contradictory elements. The curved wall symbolizes separation and isolation. The chair is the confider. It was also called “vis à vis” in the 19th century because it allowed two people to have a discussion without turning their heads.
This tension is once again present in Seuil – Fauteuil / Doorstep-Chair (2006). In this case the doorstep rather that creating a separation, becomes an opening. By sitting in the chair, one experiences the feeling of sitting on a boundary.
Kitahara’s most recent works show a reflection on the relationship between art and architecture, especially on how art is presented in architectural spaces.
In Démolir – Reconstruire / Demolish – Reconstruct III (2009) or Sur le Rempart / On the fortification or Banc de correlation / Correlation Bench, the artist reuses strong elements from a site such as fortifications, buildings, structures and turns them into street furniture or architectural models. These works are created in situ and create a dialogue with the space they are presented in by redefining and remodeling its architecture.