A new exhibition in the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design in Toyama, Japan, entitled “Art and Design, dialogue with materials,” explores the various characteristics of different materials, including wood, metal, and a few innovative contemporary materials. This exhibition is only the second one to ever be shown at the museum, and one of its more outstanding installations offers visitors an exploration into the beauty and artistic potential of paper. Emmanuelle Moureaux’s “Color of Time” is an optical delight, featuring an interactive wall made from some 120,000 colorful cutouts of numbers from 0 to 9 and the “:” symbol to represent the passing of time.

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The French, Tokyo-based artist decided to combine the mathematical elements depicted in the paper cutouts with a wide range of colors, allowing visitors to experience a visual and immersive recreation of the passage of time. The work effectively began “running” at sunrise on the opening day of the exhibition (November 16, 2017 at 6:30 A.M.). The colors of the day were then traced over a total of 799 minutes, passing through twilight at 6:11 P.M. and finally into darkness after sunset at 7:49 P.M. Moureaux explains: “This flow of time is perceived through the transitional journey through 100 shades of colors.”

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All of the numbers featured in the work hang down from the ceiling in strands and are arranged in a grid-like pattern, although this cannot be discerned by the visitor, who passes through a tunnel that cuts through the dense mass of numbers from one side to the other. At its front face, “Color of Time” begins with the lighter colors to represent the start of the day. From there, spectators walk through the rest of the 100-layer volume, watching the minutes run from left to right and then backwards through the installation. Eventually, they’ll emerge at the matrix’s far end, by which point they will have passed through the entire spectrum of color and find themselves surrounded by a series of black numbers.

This marks the first time that Moureaux has ever used this kind of severe color contrast in her work. The artist’s statement on the installation reads: “Through the tunnel, the sky is tinted with a beautiful gradation changing from pale to deep colors, flowing from time to time. The installation makes one feel the subtle changes in the atmosphere through the whole body by travelling the colorful flow of time.”

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Visitors can also expect to find a chair by contemporary designer Shiro Kuramata at the end of that tunnel. The chair is called “Miss Blanche,” and the museum has stated that “Miss Blanche is placed by the deputy director of Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art & Design, who is also curator of the exhibition, to create the axis to express a deep respect and admiration from Emmanuelle to Shiro Kuramata.”

“Color of Time” was originally on display from November 16th, 2017 to January 8th, 2018.