A Crystal “Church” That Could Make You Find God

When we last checked in with master illusionist Tokujin Yoshioka, he was busy turning the world into a gorgeous funhouse. Now, for an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, the Japanese artist is yet again playing with light in all the right ways–this time on a colossal scale.

The centerpiece of Yoshioka’s Rainbow Church is a tall, slender installation that’s 40 feet tall and contains 500 crystal prisms. Light refracts through the prisms, throwing rainbow hues on the adjacent walls for a stained glass effect without the stained glass.

The spare aesthetic doesn’t make it easily apparent, but Rainbow Church is influenced by an experience from his early 20s, when he visited Henri Matisse’s Rosaire Chapel in Vence, France. “I had a mysterious experience of being filled with overwhelming light and vibrant colors,” the artist says in a press release. “A dream to build architecture like this chapel came up to me strongly.” In a departure from the tangible materials he’s used in the past–foil for chairs, feathers for a snow-themed art installation–he’s building with light, the most ephemeral material of all.

Yoshioka’s Crystalize exhibit is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo through January 19, 2014.MR