Forbidden Box (1995)is an installation of two large-scale Iris inkjet prints depicting the mushroom
cloud created by the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Yukinori Yanagi
selected the image from a 1946 Japanese newspaper and printed it on sheer fabric.
The panels are embellished with the
words of the Japanese constitution’s Article 9, which renounces the nation’s
ability to wage war and was originally drafted by General Douglas MacArthur
after the end of World War II. The MacArthur version is printed in English on
the rear panel, while the Japanese version— which is written in a much more
conciliatory tone—and its English translation can be found on the front panel.
The juxtaposition of the two texts allows for a comparison of the cultural
differences between the United States and Japan. Below the billboard-size
prints, Yanagi placed an open lead box with the words “Little Boy”—the name of
the bomb—inscribed on the lid. The box is a reference to a Japanese folktale
called Urashima Taro.
Yanagi (Fukuoka, 1959) is a Japanese artist who employing systems of signs and
symbols, creates sculptures and installations that address geopolitical
borders, national identity and history, and territories. Since 1986, Yanagi’s
unconventional work —which has used, for example, ants and dung beetles—has
consistently addressed the issue of movement.