Deep Dive: Intangible Forms

For artist Shohei Fujimoto, less is more.

His work may be abstract and minimal, but the ideas and intent behind it are layered – as is the visitor experience.

Shohei Fujimoto’s artwork is an invitation to connect: to discover something not only about the work, but about ourselves. Through his art, Fujimoto explores the ideas of nature and what unites all living things. In order to understand something so complex, Fujimoto creates art that has few “ingredients” and is “simple” for the senses to take in. He feels that less information allows people to truly and objectively observe themselves, leading to a deeper understanding.

In his latest piece Intangible Forms, Fujimoto makes a variety of creative choices that contribute to the overall impact of his compelling artwork, such as:


Why lasers? Lasers have unique qualities among light sources. Their unparalleled brightness stood out to Fujimoto, prompting him to further explore the medium. Becoming interested in the structure of natural light, the artist was inspired to incorporate lasers as a key element within his artwork. The laser creates one singular point, and Fujimoto likes the minimal and essential structure of that one point that he can manipulate. To him, lasers are a tool to explore his artistic ideas.


Fujimoto’s attraction to simplicity is an instinctual one. In working with minimal forms, he is able to focus on the essential, as there is not a lot of extra and unnecessary information. By reducing information, we can recognize and understand more information. He feels that if there are a lot of “ingredients,” one cannot focus on the essential parts. Thus, he employs the sole medium of light beams in creating visually minimalist and abstract installations with an emphasis on form. He often calls his artistic practice “visual experiments” as he manipulates bright light to create almost tangible, moving shapes and structures.


The way in which Fujimoto manipulates light often emphasizes themes of pattern and repetition. Through his minimal aesthetic, Fujimoto explores these two themes both visually and as concepts related to both nature and technology. His exploration of repeating visuals is in part intended to mimic the repetition of tasks seen in many life forms. Similar to how ants cooperate in building their home, computer systems run on code and structure. In his work, Fujimoto expresses this through cyclical repetition of simple visual patterns.


One of the most striking visual elements in the main installation Intangible Forms is the bright red color of the moving light beams. Here, Fujimoto chooses the color not for emotional reasons but for its visual quality. On the visible spectrum, red is least vibrant in darkness. This is why seats in performance and movie theaters were traditionally designed to be red – so they could appear less visible in the dark. This quality of red allows Fujimoto to play with what he calls “margins” to a greater capacity compared to utilizing light beams of a different color.

Margins are simply moments of absence. In Intangible Forms, the margin around lasers (light) is the darkness that makes them stand out, and the margin of sound is the silence that surrounds it. Fujimoto’s aim here is to focus on those lingering sensations that occur during the absence. He believes that if there is a blank space, or margin, we can focus more on what is truly important.


In combining all of these elements, Intangible Forms invites visitors to not only be present and experience the installation through sights and sounds, but also to focus their mind on what is in front of them. Fujimoto’s works inhabit a unique physical, spatial presence that enables one to pause, clear the mind, and connect.

Through this experience, Fujimoto believes that the audience will be able to connect to a universal truth – that quintessential quality of what it means to be living, in turn giving the artwork life.

Intangible Forms by Shohei Fujimoto is on view at ARTECHOUSE NYC through Oct 14, 2020.


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