Fujiko Nakaya, ‘Foggy Forest’ (1992) Children’s Park, Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan.

An artificial vapour envelopes those that encounter Fujiko Nakaya’s “Fog Sculptures”. Hazy and ephemeral, the artist refers to these forms as an “echo-state of the cloud”. Created in parks and forests, along riverbanks, near beaches or within city surroundings, Nakaya has been engulfing environments with her beguiling sculptures since 1970. First exhibited at the Pepsi Pavilion at the Osaka Expo ‘70 with E. A. T (Experiments in Art and Technology), the collaborating artists and engineers displayed their works inside a dome shrouded in Nakaya’s mysterious cloudy sculpture.
Being an unfixed medium, prone to changes in weather, the artist carefully researches meteorological forecasts before creating her atmospheric artworks. Including commissions for the Yokohama Triennale in 2008 and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 2009, her works have been celebrated at some prestigious art institutions worldwide. Resisting the confines that conventional artworks are subject to, “Fog Sculptures” have more recently been presented at contemporary art festivals or have been produced in collaboration with dance companies who seek unique conditions in which to perform.
Given the form that “Fog Sculptures” take and the art historical climate when the artist first produced them, during the early 1970s, one might be tempted to compare her aims with that of her American contemporaries who sought to dematerialise art so as to dissolve art’s commodity status and take the viewer outside the institution. However, while Nakaya was certainly aware of the artistic interrogations taking place in the US at the time, the original impetus for the “Fog Sculptures” arose from her attempts to capture organic decomposition on canvas.
Dissatisfied with the results, she chose to simulate a natural process that visibly dissipates instead, conjuring immersive environments in awe of nature’s volatility. The artists describes her process-based sculpture as “a vehicle of correspondence and reverberation with nature”.

Fujiko Nakaya, ‘Foggy Forest’ (1992) Children’s Park, Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan.

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture #47636 'Memory of Wind' (2013), Sapporo International Art Festival.

Fujiko Nakaya, ‘Fog Sculpture #47636 Memory of Wind’ (2013), Sapporo International Art Festival, Japan.


Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture #94925 ‘Foggy Wake in a Desert: An Ecosphere’, (2009) Canberra, Australia.

Fujiko Nakaya, Fog Sculpture #08025, ‘F.O.G.’ (2009), Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Fujiko Nakaya, 'Foggy Garden' #07172 (2011) France.

Fujiko Nakaya, ‘Foggy Garden #07172’ (2011) France.

Fujiko Nakaya was born in Sapporo (1933). She is the daughter of the physicist Ukichiro Nakaya who was credited with creating the first artificial snowflakes. The artist lives and works in Tokyo.
©Nick West 2015