Reiko Ayoagi moved to Wales from Japan in 1993 having studied previously in the UK. Her move and its cultural disruption is integral to her work. Although this dislocation is largely positive, distinctiveness essentially resides in difference rather than similarity. And it is on the cusps of that difference that difficulties residing in language and general social communication inevitably lie. There occurs also the corollary difficulty of fashioning a comprehensible aesthetic vocabulary to enable effective cross-cultural communication at a relatively sophisticated level. This is the force field within which Reiko Aoyagi operates, as she searches for universally comprehensible means to communicate what might literally seem to transcend all such difference. And her answer is an attempt at such transcendence – which obviously needs involve both psychological and physical space – by using what are universal media i.e. the sense. Although her materials and contexts may differ there are constants. As she wrote:
I have a vision of an open space. It has no walls, no boundaries. It is open towards the outer and inner space. It is open to everyone. It has a translucent quality. It is filled with the four elements the metaphysical, spiritual, male/female and sensory quality of human beings. It is not a fixed space. It is a new space. It is on earth but not fixed on earth: it is floating.
Although Reiko Ayoagi has displaced herself culturally, her work ought not to be read as stereotypically ‘Japanese’: this, despite her concern with light and space, fluidity and change, is no artist of the floating world. Her work has its austerities, intellectual ones mostly. There is a rigour in her doubts, as she interrogates her own cultural place, space and boundaries in general. She creates for the viewer/participant a hugely contemplative dimension but constantly present is the possibility of a shared form of communication.