/ clippings /

bottled creatures :: THEME

text by michelle you, photo by dylan griffin

fall 2007 issue no.11 DO GOOD

page 4,52,53

When Miwa Koizumi graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and migrated to New York City, she made the unpleasant discovery most art-school grads make. "You leave school and realize, 'Oh my god, I have to pay for studios, materials, everything!'" says the 38-year-old. But in a city where scarcity is the rule, one thing is in abundance: piles of curbside trash. The New York City Department of Sanitation estimates that 25,000 tons of refuse are collected daily. "I'm just so amazed by the quantity of garbage in New York City," she says.

A large portion of that garbage is plastic bottles, of which Americans only recycle 23 percent. "To sell liquid, you need a container, and when you're finished drinking, it becomes trash," says the Japanese artist. The bottles move from store refrigerators to people's hands to the trash. And from the trash, into Koizumi's studio.

Inspired by aquatic animal exhibits she'd seen at zoos and aquariums, Koizumi began shaping bottles into the gorgeous and ethereal forms of jellyfish and anemone, giving them a second life as animals that live in liquid. "Sea creatures and bottles are both related to liquid and water," she explains, and her resultant creations are indeed reminiscent of both, with bottle-bottoms artfully transformed into convincing jellyfish noggins. Though frozen in space, each "animal" is unmistakably in motion, traveling through unseen water by means of unfurling tentacles and flowing tendrils.

Koizumi refers collectively to her aquatic creatures as the PET project, a play on the word for domestic animal and polyethylene or PET, which is what most drinking bottles are made out of. She now has countless floating sea creatures hanging in galleries and museums: from the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City to Discovery World, a science museum in Milwaukee. But she doesn't quite consider it recycling: "Everyone says recycling, but it's more about cycling," she says. "You have to think about how the whole world is moving."



FIAF Crossing the Line 2010

/Farm City Fair/

Sept. 12, 2010 (11am-5pm)

The Invisible Dog Art Center

Miwa is presenting a new flavor 'Bergen St.' of NY Flavors Ice Cream as part of this year's Crossing the Line Festival


Free Store

/NY Flavors Ice Cream /

Feb. 19th and March 20th

99 Nassau St.

Miwa is presenting a new flavor 'Wall St.' of NY Flavors Ice Cream at the opening and closing of the Free Store


/Unnatural Acts and other illicit thoughts about nature/

Jan. 2-15, 2009

Broadway Gallery

Small quick show in a venerable downtown institution

Peekskill Project08

/PET Project and NY Flavors Ice Cream /

Sept. 13 - Nov. 23rd 2008

Peekskill, NY

Miwa is installing some PETs on the piers and will be serving a new flavor of NY Flavors Ice Cream for 2 days at the opening

Working Space 08

/Curated by Tatiana Arocha/

Aug 2 - Sept 20, 2008

Cuchifritos Gallery and Project Space

Artists employing a wide variety of media, from AAI's Rotating Studio Program, Fall 2007 and Spring 2008. Curated by Tatiana Arocha


/Summer Invitational/

Jul 10 - Aug 15, 2008

George Adams Gallery

A New York Flavors Ice Cream performance at the opening of a show called "Cool" at the George Adams Gallery in Chelsea. Miwa will be serving a new New York Flavored Ice Cream "34th St Herald Square" (kimuchi !).


All parts of this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License.