Luminous Glass Sculptures Come to Life With Human Interaction

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile,” glass, phosphorescent material, broad spectrum UV lights, motion detector, 3353 x 4267 x 3658 mm (as installation), 2019. (Photo credit: Yayushi Ichikawa, 33rd Rakow Commission, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass)

Japanese artist Rui Sasaki captures the mutability of the weather in her mesmerizing glass sculptures. She uses phosphorescent glass—a material that can store light and glow in the dark—to create luminous installations both small and large. From cascading raindrops to kitchenware to abstract objects, these pieces appear in darkened rooms like blue-tinted specters.

Originally from the Kanto region of Japan, Sasaki became interested in weather patterns after moving to Hokuriku, which is known for its more variable climate. “When I first moved here, the leaden Hokuriku skies and unsettled weather, the heavy rainfall and high humidity, surprised me, and I was also surprised by the great physical and mental impact the climate had on me,” she tells My Modern Met. “I started working in phosphorescent glass because, in Hokuriku, one marvels at the slightest interval of clear skies, and I wanted to visualize and celebrate that hint of sunlight, and record and preserve it somehow. The phosphorescent glass mixture used stores light of a wavelength close to that of sunlight, with this stored light then glowing in the dark.”

At first, when visitors go to the gallery to see Sasaki's work, they will be overwhelmed by the darkness of the room. Then, as their eyes adjust, the faint forms of the sculpture will become more visible. “If a viewer remains in the gallery for an extended period, the next viewer will see the work glowing weakly in the darkness,” she continues. “With longer viewing time, the light of the phosphorescent glass fades, moment by moment, until finally the gallery is plunged into darkness. This might occur a minute later, or a day later, depending on viewer movements.”

Sasaki's experimental art has been exhibited around the world in both solo and group shows. She is currently working as a specialist/faculty in Glass at Kanazawa Utatsuya Kogei Kobo in Ishikawa, Japan, and has an upcoming exhibition in Tokyo at the Gallery DiEGO Omotesando in May. “I suspect my practice is about using glass—a material that renders the invisible, visible; whose consistent duality invites us to ponder presence and absence, and which allows us to preserve and record—to confirm my own existence via the exploration of an ‘intimacy' with which I have found myself unconsciously in sympathy, amid subtle day-to-day realizations.”

Scroll down to see more amazing sculptures by Sasaki, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up to date with her latest creations.

Japanese artist Rui Sasaki creates incredible glass sculptures that mimic the changeability of weather.

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile,” glass, phosphorescent material, broad spectrum UV lights, motion detector, 3353 x 4267 x 3658 mm (as installation), 2019. (Photo credit: Yayushi Ichikawa, 33rd Rakow Commission, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass)

As viewers watch these glass installations, they will change in color and brightness.

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile,” glass, phosphorescent material, broad spectrum UV lights, motion detector, 3353 x 4267 x 3658 mm (as installation), 2019. (Photo credit: Yayushi Ichikawa, 33rd Rakow Commission, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass)

At their brightest, they become a neon green, and at their dimmest, they turn a soft blue.

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile,” glass, phosphorescent material, broad spectrum UV lights, motion detector, 3353 x 4267 x 3658 mm (as installation), 2019. (Photo credit: Yayushi Ichikawa, 33rd Rakow Commission, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine/ I am a Pluviophile,” glass, phosphorescent material, broad spectrum UV lights, motion detector, 3353 x 4267 x 3658 mm (as installation), 2019. (Photo credit: Yayushi Ichikawa, 33rd Rakow Commission, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Remembering the weather,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, lights, motion sensor, plywood, 1800 x 590 x 300 mm, 2020. (Photo credit: Kichiro Okamura)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Remembering the weather,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, lights, motion sensor, plywood, 1800 x 590 x 300 mm, 2020. (Photo credit: Kichiro Okamura)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, solarium lights, motion detector, timer, 2300 x 5800 x 3100 mm, 2016. (Photo credit: Pal Hoff)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, solarium lights, motion detector, timer, 2300 x 5800 x 3100 mm, 2016. (Photo credit: Pal Hoff)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Liquid Sunshine,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, solarium lights, motion detector, timer, 2300 x 5800 x 3100 mm, 2016. (Photo credit: Pal Hoff)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Weather Mirror,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, mirror, foot switch, 2021. (Photo credit: Kichiro Okamura)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Weather Mirror,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, mirror, foot switch, 2021. (Photo credit: Kichiro Okamura)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Weather Chandelier,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, metal, timer, motion detector, solar panel, sunshine, 700 x 550 mm, 2015. (Photo credit: Kichiro Okamura)

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Weather Project,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, sunshine, 1050 x 1300 x 750 mm, 2015.

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Weather Project,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, sunshine, 1050 x 1300 x 750 mm, 2015.

Glass Sculptures by Rui Sasaki

“Remembering the clouds,” glass, phosphorescent crystal mixture, snow (Boda Glasbruk, Sweden, and Kanazawa, Japan), UV lights, timer, 3300 x 500 x 2300 mm as installation, 2019. (Photo credit: Kurt Rodahl Hoppe)

Rui Sasaki: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Rui Sasaki.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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