Background information

Susumu Shingu, 1986. 10'diameter, 10'H. 328 E. 1st Street
"Delicate, complex, capricious and yet never repetitive" is how Shingu described Aurora. Suspended from the ceiling above the entrance of the Miyako Inn and Spa, it catches the natural wind as well as the artificial airstream blown from vents above the work. From the street, this kinetic work is difficult to visually assemble against the background of reflective glass. But from the second floor lobby of the hotel, the sixteen 45 cm square panels rotating around a complex series of five interconnected axes appear to weave, rise and fall in constantly changing waves.

Though it can be classified as a "mobile", Aurora should not be considered as sculpture that moves in the air. According to Shingu, it is a point of contact with nature, giving shape and making visible the energy of the wind. And like the natural aurora borealis, Shingu's work creates a display of light, the inspiration for the title.

The initial architect of the hotel, Hiyahiko Takase, contacted Shingu in 1986 to design a sculptural piece for the entrance. A water sculpture, rejected because of maintenance concerns, was among several proposals Shingu made to the developer. After the basic design for Aurora was accepted, Shingu changed the orientation of some of the axes to better fit the entire piece into the niche.

Constructed from highly polished stainless steel, the axes and the rotating panels were fabricated and assembled in Japan. Shingu supervised the installation at the hotel, and the sculpture was dedicated in January, 1987. As part of Shingu's involvement with the art program at the hotel, he also designed the origami pattern panels located in the hotel lobby.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, December 1997.

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