Hirano’s installation crafted from three umbrellas related to three cities (Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Berlin) is closely connected to her personal history. She unravels the umbrella cloth into individual threads and reconfigures them in a completely different form. This technique appears in her previous reconstructions of clothes, such as a wedding dress, a newborn baby’s ceremonial clothes, or undergarments.
That the three umbrellas were actually used in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Berlin, three cities with tragic histories, triggers memory and carries deep meaning. Hirano’s underlying purpose, though, is more than to simply scrutinize the sad history of these particular cities. Rather, using the familiar motif of umbrellas, she demonstrates how our lives are interwoven with the events of the world around us, whether historically significant or not.
Machine, Hirano’s new work created for this exhibition, diverges significantly from her style up until now. An industrial sewing machine, it’s heavy presence totally different from the time consuming work of meticulously disassembling threads of cloth, illustrates the dramatic transformation in the connection between people and fabric in the 20th century and visualizes the sometimes even violent speed and trajectory of that transformation.