A fitting title for our times, Respire means both to breathe, and to recover hope after a time of difficulty. Tomoko Amaki Abe’s most recent exhibition in Brooklyn, New York aims to reflect our brief yet enduring existence in our environment. In this series of works, Abe pays particular attention to the shifts in perception that have taken place as a result of the global pandemic, especially regarding the heightened symbiotic relationship between our body and our environment, she explains “as the pandemic continues to remind us of our body being part of the cycle of deterioration and regeneration, it feels natural for me to incorporate our ephemeral physicality into my work more than ever.”
Abe says that she was inspired by the complex interplay between ecological and human systems, proved in the world’s waste, dumped into the sea, finding its way to the ocean gyre. Many of her works include found waste materials that she has collected whilst walking in nature, recounting her walks by the coast she said, “as much as it disturbs me to find this plastic in the sea, I think they are also beautiful…a reflection of ourselves; the result of our accomplishment and our knowledge.” The works in the exhibition are Abe’s attempt to record ecological landscapes as they unfold in front of her eyes, capturing various departures and returns in the cycle of life.