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Landscape: Fabric of Details

30 October - 21 December
Organized by: Harvard GSD
Venue: Gund Hall
42-48 Quincy St

This exhibition of a selection of projects by Toru Mitani and his practice, Studio on Site, is about how small things have a significant, perceptual impact on diffuse landscapes. The title itself is an incitement to connect ideas that operate at vastly different scales. Fabric, when coupled with the word landscape, elicits notions of system, of underlying structure, grain, orientation, or texture of the continuous ground. Details, on the other hand, are things in themselves, discreet and contingent, requiring a shift in focus to dissect and scrutinize technique, dimension, and materials. However, a second definition of fabric from the Latin fabrica is, precisely, to make, to fabricate, and faber the craftsmen. In other words, fabric is both system and craft.


Over the past two decades, Mitani’s work has explored in a sustained manner how perception is altered through minute dimensional changes in the prosaic components of everyday landscapes. Incremental variations in the heights and widths of curbs, in the rim of a drain, or the trimming of foliage, when repeated across space, induce shifts in perception intended to make the landscape intensely present. Appearance is a word often used by Mitani and, like fabric, it has a dual meaning in his work: it is both tangible form and ephemeral action. To appear is also to enter, temporarily. Clouds have to move, time has to pass, weather has to shift in order for his details to appear. Landscape for Mitani is an art of milieu, of precise detail and dynamic interaction produced and reproduced in space.