When Jackson Pollock invented his iconic “drip painting” method, the messes he made could at least be claimed as part of the finished product. Queens-based sculptor Shinichi Maruyama doesn’t have it that easy. His delicate “water sculptures” only last for a split second before splattering lifelessly onto his studio floor. But thanks to high-speed photography, Maruyama can fix his designs in time for the rest of us to enjoy forever.
Amazingly, Maruyama uses nothing more than his bare hands and some water glasses to fling his creations into being. But this isn’t postmodernist gamesmanship — it’s truly masterful craft. Maruyama plays coy in this interview about his process, but watch that video above and try to argue that he isn’t designing his work just as intricately as any solid-medium sculptor would.
Maruyama tells The Morning News that he uses a Phase One P45 camera and a Broncolor Strobe to capture his fleeting sculptures. He can’t fully control the exact shape and form of the colliding sheets of water, but that’s the whole point: they’re more beautiful for their unexpected physics than any mere human could ever pre-visualize. And Maruyama doesn’t just work with water — apparently he’s just as handy with ink and paint, too.
Maruyama says that letting go of the desire for control over his art is the whole point: “My actions — throwing liquids for the sake of it and photographing them over and over endlessly — could be considered spiritual practice to reach enlightenment.”