Rieko Akatsuka
Kappa  2006

In search of new territories, Rieko Akatsuka's new work expands from the liminal - an in-between space, defined by darkness and light, as found in her installations of empty and silent domestic interiors - to cyberspace: the unpopulated, infinite virtual space located in her modernist architectural fabrications floating in 'timeless lacuna'. Combining her Japanese background and her interest in cyberculture, Rieko has created a hybrid being, a representation of Kappa.

The Kappa is a mythological creature of uncertain origin and form. It is said that it lurks near water and is often portrayed with the body of a tortoise, the head of an ape and webbed feet and hands. Its main characteristic is the presence of a cavity atop its head filled with strength-giving fluid. In Shinto mythology the Kappa is an evil monster while the contemporary Kappa has become a cute cartoon-like character, found in Manga comics and marketed as a soft toy. On the Internet there is a variety of different opinions and representations of the Kappa but no agreement on its look, just a picture built up through the stories passed down the years. It is a creature that exists as information. The artist chose to depict her Kappa following the instructions in a standard origami manual 'How to make block origami'. Instead of using a single piece of paper, her origami Kappa is made up of 448 folded sheets of printed Internet search results on the subject. Hinting at the transport and collection of information, questioning its own myth and ownership, this Japanese curiosity will be added to the Tradescants' collection.