The Amazing Goldfish

By Yuri Lee

Imagine countless goldfish swimming all around you in broken bowls, used pans, and plastic bags. You dip your hand in an attempt to touch them, but then you realize—they aren’t real. That’s how visitors of the exhibition, The Painted Breath by Riusuke Fukahori, felt as they inspected these bewildering “goldfish”.

Considering the energy and liveliness of the goldfish, it is not surprising to learn that visitors almost refused to believe that these 3-D goldfish were created with only a little paint and resin. For many, it seemed as if the goldfish were put on “pause”—alive, but frozen.

To create this perception, Fukahori used a painstaking process of painting the goldfish layer by layer, pouring a thin coat of resin between each layer. This gave the goldfish an authentic and 3-D effect. What makes Fukahori’s work so awe-inspiring is learning that these “lively” goldfish, which seem real as they “swim” in the resin, were created.

Why goldfish? For Fukahori, they reflect himself and his weakness as a human being. He states on his website, “I think of [the] goldfish as a living sculpture with man-made modifications. It never reaches the completed form; the goldfish’s vulnerability and imperfections bring out our motherly instinct. I’ve been bewitched with the strong energy of life of goldfish that has inherited mutations for more than 1500 years, continuously changing forms by man’s hands.”

Fukahori’s goldfish are works of art that help others share his fascination with these puzzling creatures. Tech students can observe the wonder of the goldfish in the Joshua Liner Gallery on 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

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