This ring by Tokyo based artist Issei Watanabe (渡 邉 一 生) contains a little bit of Crystal Meth, a dangerous drug, widespread not only in the US but throughout all regions and social groups. Watanabe exhibited this challenging artwork in 2010 while being a student in Pratt’s MFA program.
For my thesis exhibition, I created a wedding ring out of methamphetamine. It is in the form and size of a traditional wedding ring, but instead of gold, it made out of methamphetamine.
The artwork focuses on issues of drug abuse and drug laws. The idea of the work comes from the expression “married to …” which is often used to describe bonding to something, addiction, or loving to death. My artwork suggests that addicts are married to the substance they abuse.
The work highlights the range of laws dealing with drug use and drug possession. In some countries, conviction of drug possession leads to short imprisonment, while in other countries it leads to the death penalty. This artwork could be exhibited in only a few free countries.
The main purpose of this project is to expand the possibility of what art can be. I believe that artworks have the power to ask the public to think about social issues and the nature of art.
As part of my artwork, I have had my blood tested for drug use. The test results, which are negative, are exhibited near my sculpture. I will not consume, manufacture, import, export or traffic in drugs. I used only a small amount of methamphetamine to apply in my artwork.
All images by Issei Watanabe/isseiwatanabe.com unless otherwise noted.