Aiko Tsukahara


Wood and paint




Clouds feature widely throughout the history of art, as changeable and volatile a weather feature as they are. The study of clouds as we know it today, has its roots in the art of the 1700s, particularly with John Constable’s watercolours and oil paintings.

Constable (1776–1857) considered his work to be scientific in nature and he systematically studied different types of cloud formations. Before that time, clouds in art were usually depicted as being formed by anything other than nature in order to meet the requirements of the painting. Clouds might reveal a mythical or god-like figure from their depths, they rose to heaven and influenced all manner of things on earth. In Albrecht Dürer’s graphical woodcut, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride wildly out of the clouds. The clouds also carry Dürer’s image of Nemesis, the goddess of fate and revenge.

Aiko Tsukahara’s (b. 1980) cloud, however, is something entirely different. This is not a meteorological study nor is it the image of something inexplicable or supernatural. However, there is a connection between Constable and Tsukahara’s suspended sculpture. The pixelated cloud, made up of white wooden cubes demonstrates the impression of what kind of effect lighting can have. Even shadows can appear to shine. “Cloud” is clearly cumulus, the dry weather cloud, and its cloud-like appearance is very real.

Hanging from the ceiling, “Cloud” floats lightly, despite weighing over 50 kilos. Here lies one of the sculptors’ eternal challenges: how uninhibited movement or weightlessness can be represented using heavy materials.

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