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.