Sound Shatters the Illusion

Ryan Takaba

In Residence: May 22 – Jul 17, 2023

Exhibition: Jul 13 – Sep 10, 2023

Ryan Takaba’s Artpace exhibition, Sound Shatters the Illusion, ignites the viewer’s curiosity and directs it toward the unseen phenomena of the natural world. Through quiet observation, the viewer is tuned to a sensorial experience and invited to witness an interplay of sound and motion. 

The singular work in this installation is architectural, a candle-like form with an outer ring of plywood platforms referencing the bobeche (a cup or ring typically placed at the top of a candlestick to catch melted wax). The object’s exterior is covered in meticulously melted wax, with 500 candles perched on ledges along its surface. The viewer is invited to light a candle and mark their presence.

Air is a new material for Takaba, who has worked with wax and ceramics in previous exhibitions. Throughout Sound Shatters the Illusion, a sensibility of touch can be seen when observing the surface of the wax. The soft glow of each candle casts light and shadows; melted forms bend as air shifts the flame. This is the largest composition Takaba has ever created at 25 feet high. The laborious dripping and building up layers of wax at this scale requires tedious, small processes. Each drip is gestural and involves a material symbiosis of heat and consistency, suited for the hands of a ceramicist.

As one stands on top of the platform, air is pushed through the channels between the wax exterior and glassine paper-walled interior, activating a slight, percussive sound. Each person chooses their own level of interaction in this space where light and sound are shared, like an offering, between bodies on the outside and the inside of the work.

Ryan Takaba’s practice is slow, thoughtful, and deeply considered. His employment of air displacement and sound denote a quiet acknowledgement of the unseen spirit. Sound Shatters the Illusion is a space where subtle gestures create a complex performance. The viewer’s curiosity is tacitly stimulated, and we are reminded of the natural phenomena at play among us.

Ada Smith Genitempo, Residencies and Exhibitions Manager

Our Texas-based artist residency has been generously funded by the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas


Ryan Takaba

San Antonio, Texas, USA

Ryan Takaba is a material artist whose sculptures, tableaux, and installations are centered around a study of scientific reason and the power of belief. His interest in materials as it pertains to science, exploration of process and duration, chance and unpredictability stems from his training and education in the ceramic discipline.

Takaba earned an MFA in Ceramics from Kent State University and a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Hawai`i. He has participated in residencies at the European Ceramic Work Center, Netherlands; The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China; and was awarded a residency through The Contemporary at Blue Star to live and work at The Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Germany. Takaba currently lives in San Antonio, Texas where his practice consists of three components––exhibition work, public art with his collaborative team (R & R & R), and teaching at the University of Texas San Antonio.

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Alejo Benedetti

Alejo Benedetti is Acting Curator, Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In his role at the museum, he focuses on art since 1960 and oversees the Contemporary Art Galleries and the outdoor sculpture program. He is the curator for Listening Forest by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, a mid-career retrospective of the internationally acclaimed artist’s outdoor sculptures on view in Crystal Bridges’ North Forest through January of 2023. 

In 2020, he co-curated State of the Art 2020, bringing together 61 contemporary artists from across the United States in an exhibition that opened at Crystal Bridges and the Momentary and is now traveling. Benedetti also organized the 2019 exhibition, Men of Steel, Women of Wonder, which looked at art-world responses to Superman and Wonder Woman and traveled to the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Addison Gallery of American Art. At Crystal Bridges he has also acted as venue curator for major exhibitions including, The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse (2022) and Ansel Adams in our Time (2021), among others. 

He is originally from Texas and earned his master’s degree in Art History from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri, Columbia. 

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