Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Big Sight, Tokyo
Steel, epoxy resin, fiber-reinforced plastic, polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride foams; painted with polyester gelcoat
50 ft. 8 in. x 4 ft. 9 in. x 40 ft. (15.4 x 1. 5 x 12.2 m)
Commissioned January 1995 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Installed March 1996
Our first commission in Japan was for the grounds of the Tokyo International Exhibition Center, "Big Sight," a massive complex of triangulated structures with four inverted pyramidal buildings. Located in Ariake, across the Rainbow Bridge from downtown Tokyo, the buildings rise from a plaza and walkways elevated above the proposed site, which was located on a level used by buses and cars accessing the garage under the plaza. The effect was of a sunken garden and, in fact, the original plans for the site, later cancelled, called for the sculpture to be surrounded by trees and plants.
We felt, however, that the sculpture should have a larger presence in relation to the architecture. The subject chosen to accomplish this was a Western-style handsaw. Coosje found the saw appropriate to the cross-cut effect of the layered construction surrounding the site. Also, the teeth of the saw would continue the triangular motif of the buildings.
We imagined the Saw, Sawing rising from its point of insertion into the ground high enough over the plaza to display the handle’s curved organic form. Painted a vivid red with blue screw-heads, the handle would provide a sharp contrast to the pervasive geometry and gray tones of the Exhibition Center. Since the Western saw is not a tool used in Japan, we hoped that this common object, detached from its function, would become mysterious in its foreign context, subject to surprising new interpretations of its identity.