Iori Tomita - Transparent Specimens
0 comment Friday, March 21, 2014 |
The artist Iori Tomita is trained as a fisherman, Tomita studied at Kitasato University School of Fisheries Sciences.
The images that you see in this entry, are real fish that have been preserved using the artists own method.
Tomita removes the scales and skin, which have been preserved in formaldehyde and soaks the specimen in blue stain, ethyl alcohol and glacial acetic acid. Tomita then uses an enzyme trypsin to break down proteins and muscles, which is how the specimens become transparent. As soon as the fish become transparent, the artist then soaks the fish in potassium hydroxide and red die, to stain the fish further.
When the artist is happy with his specimen, he then preserves it in glycerin.
This process is detailed and formulaic, which is interesting. An artist would use a particular formula to create say, a sculpture, in their own style. For example, if you were making a sculpture out of wax, using a plaster cast, there are certain stages, times and formulas that you must bear in mind if you want your sculpture to be a success. Similarly, Iori Tomita's specimens follow a very scientific path, in which certain chemicals must be used in order and for exactly the right amount of time. The choice to remove the fish from the enzyme trypsin when the specimens have become transparent is a purely aesthetic decision.
I am passionate about creativity with materials, thanks to a "materiality" module in my degree in Fine Art.
This module was when I started to become more creative with the art materials I chose, using sugar, glucose and water to make sculptures from. The sugary mixture had to be warmed to exactly the right temperature before it could harden as it cooled. After that module, it was hard to go back to say, wax or plaster.
I think it is important for artists to find new processes that have not been used before, taking inspiration from their everyday lives, just as Iori Tomita has done.

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