Mental Health as Molten Glass - Kazuki Takizawa
People know Kazuki Takizawa for his intricate sculptures and art installations. Not only do they convey messages about taboo subjects like mental illness, but they are all made from glass. By using glass, Kazuki portrays the versatility and fragility of mental illnesses.
“What other material can be transparent, opaque, fluid, rigid, fragile and broken?”
Kazuki Takizawa is a Japanese glass artist that was born and raised in Hong Kong. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California.
He is a graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and now runs his own glassblowing studio, KT Glassworks.
As an advocate of mental illness, Kazuki expresses most of his thoughts and emotions through his artwork. He also wants to emphasize the seriousness of mental illnesses, including depression, mental disorders, and suicide. Through his art, he hopes others will be more comfortable to talk about mental illnesses, especially suicide.
“In expressing my emotions, I seek to connect with others and evoke a sense of familiarity and fellowship.” - Kazuki Takizawa
Breaking the Silence Series
Kazuki's personal experiences caring for his suicidal brother led to his most memorable series so far, Breaking the Silence. Kazuki’s brother had suicidal ideation, a desire to commit suicide, and his mental state was in critical condition. In order to look after him, Kazuki and his parents travelled to Tokyo in 2015.
"In the United States, suicide is the tenth leading cause of deaths, and its rate increased in the past decade. This public health issue can be improved by simply having more people talk about it and growing a compassionate heart." - Kazuki Takizawa
Breaking the Silence (2015)
The first installation in this series incorporates sound and performance aspects. It acts as a metaphor for a person’s breaking point. It also demonstrates the contrast between the acts of balancing one’s inner struggles with the harsh external forces around them.
Previously, Kazuki did not know how to handle his own emotions while caring for his brother. at the same time He recalls sketching an off-centered vessel form, which becomes a part of this installation. In Japanese, the word “vessel” refers to a person’s emotional caliber.
The installation consists of a water system and slanted clear vessels. There are droplets of water sprinkled into the vessels, which tip over onto the table from the water’s weight.
Breaking the Silence II (2017)
This installation is seven feet tall and consists of colored glass bells. According to Kazuki, the glass bells are a reference to the act of hanging oneself. The appearance of dead tress inspired the overall color and form of the sculpture. Instead of exhibiting the graphic reality of this issue, Kazuki wants it to look like something from nature.
The audience is able to touch the sculpture, causing the glass bells to sway and gently hit each other. This causes the bells to ring, and the silence is broken, both literally and metaphorically.
From left to right: In Between Light and Shadow (2017), Minimalist (2015-2017), Container (2017)
Kazuki’s other works such as In Between Light and Shadow, Minimalist and Container, reference other aspects such as the importance of self-expression, personality and emotional well-being.
Kazuki is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. He seeks inspiration from the variety of emotions he experiences during his ups and downs. In addition to that, the people that he meets along the way continue to leave a mark on his artwork. He hopes that his artwork raises awareness and sparks conversationabout this controversial topic.
“The harmonisation of the radically different, such as violence and meditation, spontaneity and meticulousness, and destruction and repair is found in the process, as well as the result of my work." - Kazuki Takizawa