Typhoon Queens, Exhibition #1

Exhibition Statement

Five artists from Japan, Korea, and the United States (known as the Typhoon Queens) bring us a theatrical installation, using the hydrological cycle to examine the ecological spaces we inhabit. This work is part exhibition, part experiential story. Here, the social, political, and ecological strain between people and the borders we create, enters into the world of clouds and rain. The exhibition on view here, at times takes the form of a lyrical play, where humans and nature rotate characters as moderator, observer, and instigator.

A complex orchestration of alternate views on deep-rooted human struggles, members of the Typhoon Queens find multiple ways to address a simple question: in our human dealings with each other and the world, can nature show us the way?

Explore The Exhibition

We begin on the mezzanine level of Art Spot Korin in Kyoto. Here in the ‘cloud gallery,’ an exhibition of film, photography, sculpture, and performance considers the boundaries and cycles of this water world, as it is born and interpreted in each society and culture.

American artists Patrick M. Lydon, Robin Lasser work with clouds and rain, respectively. Lydon’s cloud sculpture — made of pulped newspapers from Japan and Korea — reveal remnants of sentences and words from our daily cultural headlines, as they intermix and float together in the space.



the storm moves
crossing borders




In this cloud gallery, rain is also formed, first through Lasser’s slightly psychedelic, rippling mandala of water drops on film. The film is somehow both rigid and flowing, playing at the intersection of the architectural and the spiritual.

Accompanied by soundscapes and rhythmic spoken poetry about relationships between humans and nature, the work also remarks on relationships between family, as the poems were written more than three decades ago by Lasser’s own mother.

Toward the back of the room, the second rain reference is a literal raindrop apparatus.

Built by Japanese artist Masahiro Kawanaka, the contraption of laboratory equipment mimics a slow precipitation, as drips of water run along a line from a glass vessel, onto a string, and then disappear down into a hole in the floor.



To find out where it leads, together,

we follow the way, the water flows.



Cloud Gallery / Individual Works

Explore the Exhibition – Second Act

From the cloud level above us, water gently slides down, making its way through a hole in the ceiling. The water passes through a layer of low clouds, depicted by Kawanaka’s cloud castings. Finally, the raindrops encounter an androgynous figure, a sculptural form by Japanese artist Takuma Uematsu. The stark nude figure wears what appears to be a rain-pattern umbrella skirt (the work of Lasser). Here, we see that the water dripping is maneuvered to land directly on the head of Uematsu’s figure, where it appears at times like sweat, and at other times like teardrops.

As the precipitation continues its gravitational path, it finds four potted herb plants, positioned at the four corners of the skirt. A mandala made of brightly colored leaves radiates from each of the four points.


Is this all just an elaborate herb

garden watering system?


The four potted plants are in fact healing herbs (mugwort, geranium, rosemary, and mint) used variously for healing teas, tinctures, incense, and other ends. They come from multiple continents and cultures, and are blended into a healing herb tea, produced specifically for this exhibition by Korean herbalist, Suhee Kang.

Together we ask, can nature show us the way?

As the cycle begins again, together, we follow the way, the water flows.

Participating Artists

Robin Lasser
b. 1956, Buffalo, United States; lives in Oakland

Takuma Uematsu
b. 1977 Kanazawa, Japan; lives in Minoh

Masahiro Kawanaka
b. 1979, Osaka, Japan

Patrick M. Lydon
b. 1981, San Jose, United States; lives in Osaka and Seoul

Suhee Kang
b. 1983, Seoul, South Korea; lives in Seoul and Osaka

special guests:
Dahoom (Saudi Arabia) live performance
Phyllis Lasser (United States) poetry

Exhibition Partners

Produced by:
Typoon Queens, with support from City as Nature, and the LOCALSHIP project.

Media Partner:
Urban Ecological Arts Forum at The Nature of Cities.

Further Support:
This exhibition is a satellite event of Kyotographie KG+ 2020. Parts of the exhibition will be exhibited in the United States, as part of The State We’re In: Water at the Oklahoma State Museum of Art.