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Japan, Saga Prefecture, Karatsu City 1948 – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 1999

  • Perth WA Australia Melbourne VIC Australia (//1981) Australia from 1977

Recollection of memory 1 1998 Place made: Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, cast iron; 44 panels

Dimensions: diameter 341.0 h cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2000
Accession No: NGA 2000.57.1-44

Akio Makigawa’s contribution to Australian art is one of outstanding dedication to public education and personal progress. Much of Makigawa’s work is highly restrained and meditative, a symbolic sculptural language which investigates the journey of life through the notions of time and space.

Born in Japan in 1948, Makigawa studied art at Nihon University, Tokyo, before travelling to Perth in 1974 where he trained as a sailmaker and then studied fine arts. In much of his work, Makigawa explored the relationships between humans and the natural world. The ocean is a particularly prevalent theme as the artist contemplated the fine balance between human experience of sailing and the power of nature as demonstrated by the sea and the wind.

Made during a residency at Perth’s Claremont School of Art, Recollection of Memory 1 is a contemplative work of visual subtlety. This large floor or wall piece consists of 44 cast-iron panels which, when joined together, form a circular construction almost 3 1/2 metres in diameter. Each panel is represented by a different motif, all of which belong to Makigawa’s distinctive symbolic language. Some motifs resemble urban architectural patterns and shapes, recalled from a created environment of boats, bowls, buildings and gateways. Others refer to the organic and elemental: spiritual symbols for water, fire, earth and air, and symbols for life-giving seedpods and rain-sending clouds. Makigawa fused these elements with the personal construction of time; the circular shape of this work encouraging the viewer to read it as a journey, infinite and organic, yet man-made and cerebrally conceived.

Recollection of Memory 1 is a sort of symbolic biography, a compendium of themes that characterise Makigawa’s oeuvre. Some elements are included in previous works, including Time Watcher 1988 and Time and Tide 1994. This is a poignant late work, closing the circle of the artist’s life.

Beatrice Gralton

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002