The last temptation
the art of Ken + Julia Yonetani
Chandeliers made from uranium glass representing nuclear-powered nations and a nine-metre banquet table made entirely of salt feature in the first large survey show of internationally acclaimed Japanese and Australian artist collaborators Ken + Julia Yonetani at NGA Contemporary.
Ken + Julia Yonetani’s NGA installation is a provocative response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. In an installation of chandeliers reconfigured to emanate UV light, and decorated with specially sourced uranium glass, each chandelier represents a country that operates nuclear power stations and is of a scale relative to that country’s nuclear output. It is work that is aesthetically astounding, accessible and engaging. Uranium glass contains very small traces of uranium within the glass, is legal and poses no health risks.
‘You can’t see, smell or perceive radiation with your senses, but it becomes visible in our works when illuminated with ultraviolet lights,’ say the artists. ‘Presented in darkness, the glass chandeliers and tubes glow with an eerie bright green light indicating the presence of radiation. We hope to prompt viewers to react in their own way to this radioactive presence.’
Alongside these opulent chandeliers sits The last supper, a nine-metre table made of over one tonne of groundwater salt sourced from the Murray-Darling Basin featuring a variety of foodstuffs in the form of an exquisite banquet. ‘Here salt is a metaphor for the death of the land, sacrificed in the production and consumption of what has become The last supper,’ explain the artists.
Ken + Julia Yonetani have been collaborating on projects since 2009 and have exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the Venice Biennale in 2009, in the United Kingdom, Finland, and Germany in 2011-2012, at the Singapore Biennale in 2013, and in their first major solo show in Europe at the Abbey de Maubuisson in Paris in 2015
This exhibition closed 25 April 2016
NGA Contemporary is no longer in operation
The last temptation exhibition is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of its celebrations in 2016 marking the 40th anniversary of the Australia-Japan Foundation and the 1976 Basic Treaty for Friendship and Cooperation between Australia and Japan.