Perhaps, art begins with the fireflies, ancient bioluminiscence


When and how was art born? This probably unanswerable question has been asked countless times. In the Nelo Akamatsu and Yuichi Oba work ‘Perhaps, art begins with the fireflies’ this question becomes the instrument for elaborating the artist’s poetics. In the installation, the bioluminiscence of the oldest fireflies is literally brought to light through a process of molecular biology. Inspired by the theories of the french philosophers Deleuze and Guattari as well as those of Darwinn and Uexkull on art and the animal world, Akamatsu and Oba document their entire research journey with tomographic images of fireflies, research documents on bioluminescence, stapled specimens, old lithographs, vintage prints and illustrated books. The attempt is to narrate the reconstruction of a precise moment in history that had unique aesthetic characteristics. The artist imagines a feathered dinosaur from the Cretaceous period enraptured in front of an aesthetic phenomenon: an explosion of luminescence in the dark, generated by the perceptual chaos of excess sexual instincts of which the glow of fireflies is the most visible expression, which leads one to wonder and reflect on the meaning of things, just like an ancient work of art.
Chiara Ciociola


Nelo Akamatsu and Yuichi Oba – Perhaps, art begins with the fireflies