Kelly Akashi, Periwinkle Protean

Kelly Akashi, Periwinkle Protean, 2019

Medium: Chromogenic photogram in artist's red oak frame.

Size: 21 1/4 × 33 × 2 in. (54 × 83.8 × 5.1 cm)

Credits: Courtesy of the artist and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles


Audio Transcript

Though now known for her sculptural practices, Akashi was first trained as a photographer. The photograms and transparent ortho litho prints on view here underscore the artist’s original interest in exploring how we see and understand the world. Interestingly, both types of images are made without the use of a camera, but the photogram is made rather simply by placing objects on light-sensitive paper. In Periwinkle Protean, the undulating curves of the shells and fossils come to life as a constellation of dancing forms on a flattened, glowing, blue surface.

In contrast, the ortho litho prints are made through a complex process supported by computer technology. The ortho litho prints installed elsewhere in this gallery were made in collaboration with the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Akashi made computerized tomography scans of fossils of extinct mollusks. These CT scans combine a series of x-ray images to create comprehensive, cross-sectional images of the whole. This data was then used to create some of the 3-D printed plastic objects also on view in this installation. By displaying a silhouette, an image of an internal skeleton, and a recreated man-made version, Akashi highlights our many different ways of seeing, and thus knowing, an object.