My 2017

In 2017, I...

- Quit the job which I had worked for 23 years.
- Could not accomplished my "new work" which I have been working for 8
- Went to see fewer exhibitions than usual.
- Tweeted everyday(One Tweet per day).
- Wrote no blog posts except for this.
posted by ‚R at 20:11| Diary


When a miracle vanishes

Yuki Okumura is a Japanese contemporary artist and he is regarded as one of the most radical one. To some extent, I agree with it.
However I donft think Okumura is a typical contemporary artist. I think he is a kind of magician rather than a contemporary artist, because he seems to try to exceed the limits of human through his works.

In my opinion, the limit which Okumura has been trying to exceed is a border which defines Himself.
In his early years, he approached it from a physical side. He used to use flakes of himself, such as a fingernail or a pubic hair, for his works. Your fingernails and pubic hairs are parts of Yourself as long as they pertain to your body, but once they flake they become mere dust which has no relation to you. Okumura seemed to try to break the relation by using his flakes to his art works. Those works also revealed the nature of art works, which is sometimes considered to be artistfs alter ego.

After that, Okumura began to use othersf creations for his own work.
One of the most prominent examples is the work of gAnatomy Fiction.h The work is comprised of drawings which Okumura let children imagine and draw their internal bodies. It seems a mere joyful workshop for children, but the point of this work is that the drawings also seem Okumurafs own work at the same time.
Needless to say, it is not uncommon that contemporary artists use otherfs creation for their works. However, I think the power relationship in most of those works is, if anything, exploitation by artists who use the creations.
By contrast, Okumura didnft deprive otherfs creation and experience for his works. In Okumurafs gAnatomy Fictionh, childrenfs imagination and their creation belong to them. Although the idea to draw internal own body is originated from Okumura, the children could show their creativity and originality. Their originality kept intact even though their drawings and imagination became Okumurafs art work. In other words, Okumurafs work and childrenfs creation coexist without interfering. I think it is uncommon.

The coexistence must have been Okumurafs intention. It is because that the work was not only a joyful workshop for children but also one of his attempts to expand the border of Himself. I suppose that Okumura intended to expand the limits of Himself through synchronizing his imagination with the childrenfs.
I think it succeeded to a certain degree. It is hard to describe but I thought I was able to see the expansion when I could see the drawings as an Okumurafs original art work and as the childrenfs creative works simultaneously.
It happened in a subtle moment, but I shivered. The experience was like a miracle, so to speak.

In recent years, Okumura has tried to use other contemporary artistfs works for his own works. I think it is more difficult than using childrenfs drawings because those works are more closely tied with the original artists. As a rule, artists have strong egos and it is very difficult for someone to intrude into them. It means that the equal coexistence can hardly occur.
However, I must admit I could feel the rare coexistence when I saw the Okumurafs work gRemembering Unknown (Artist's Ghost)h at the exhibition of MOT Annual 2012.
Okumura displayed the video works of four other contemporary artists, Jun Yang, Koki Tanaka, Ryan Gander and Simon Fujiwara. All Japanese subtitles of those works were translated by Okumura, and I felt I took a glance of existence of his alter ego when I saw one of the subtitles. Although it was more subtle moment than when I saw it in his gAnatomy Fiction,h but I shivered because I thought it was impossible.
I became convinced that Okumura is kind of magician rather than a contemporary artist at that time.

However, I think few people could have similar experience like mine when they saw the work. Most people might consider his installation as a typical behavior of a contemporary artist who wants to do something unexpected.
I think it is a problem Okumurafs works have. I agree that Okumurafs works are contemporary art works, of course. However, they tend to be seen as a mere tricky strategy if they were seen only as contemporary art works. At times, they even seem snobbish.
I think balance is the key. When I saw his work gMeasuring of Roman Ondakh, which was made based on a Roman Ondak's work, at his solo exhibition in 2015, I thought I had been able to see a subtle miracle there. On the other hand, I also felt some kind of art snobbery from it at the same time.
The worst case I saw was his work gWhere is the Vision of Contemporary Art?h which was displayed at the exhibition of VOCA 2015. At first Okumura had intended to display Makoto Aidafs painting as his work, but the committee of VOCA rejected the plan. As a result, he displayed only a plastic sheet of picture frame instead of Aidafs painting. It seemed just a bad loser and the attached recommenderfs comment which quoted Roland Barthes was too snobbish. Of course I couldnft see any miracle at all there.
For Okumurafs works, selection of the artist whose work would be used might be important for the balance. The selections of Roman Ondak and Makoto Aida might seem as mere strategies of contemporary art.

In that sense, Hisachika Takahashi might be the most suitable artist for Okumura.
Takahashi was a contemporary artist who was active in Milan and New York in 60s and 70s. He had worked for Robert Rauschenberg as his assistant for 40 years, but he had disappeared from the art scene as an artist for a long time.
It was Okumura who let him come back. He found Takahashifs name in a book about the history of an art gallery in Antwerp. Takahashi had held his solo exhibition at the gallery in 1967 and the record was mentioned in the book.
Okumura took an interest and began to research. He found out the Takahashi's paintings which had been kept in the gallery's warehouse for 45 years, and he was impressed with them.
Finally Okumura succeeded in getting in touch with Takahashi, and helped to hold the exhibition in Brussel. That was the beginning of the re-evaluation of Takahashifs works, and his exhibition was also hold in Liverpool and Rotterdam in succession.
In short, Okumura already has been involved in Takahashifs artist life. The fact seems to give Okumura the reason that he uses Takahashifs works for his own works.

However, I could not find out any miracle or the reason why Okumura got involved with Takahashi so deeply when I saw the Okumurafs work about Takahashi in the exhibition of Roppongi Crossing 2013. The work was titled as gHisachika Takahashi: From Wide White Space, Antwerp, 1967 to Project Room, WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, 2013.h Okumura displayed the photographs and records of the Takahashifs solo exhibition in Brussel as his art work.
I suppose I could have found some kind of miracle in the work if I had tried to see it more carefully, but I was too tired to notice it because of the awful group-show. Obviously, there is a problem of Okumurafs works. I think Okumurafs work is unique, but the uniqueness is hard to perceive. Itfs very very subtle.
I have been followed the Okumurafs Twitter account for years, so I had known the relationship between Okumura and Takahashi to a certain extent before I saw the display. Moreover, I thought I was understanding Okumurafs works better than others. Nevertheless, I was not able to find any distinct differences between the Okumurafs work and an ordinary archives display about a past exhibition. I suppose that most people who saw the display could not comprehend what Okumura had intended.

I donft know whether Okumura had thought over the problem or not, but he tried to highlight the relation between him and Takahashi in his latest exhibition with Takahashi. The exhibitionfs title is gHisachika Takahashi by Yuki Okumura.h
In the exhibition, Okumura emphasized how miraculous their relation was.

The most prominent work is Okumurafs HD video work which was titled gWho is Hisachika Takahashi: An Interview by Daniel Baumann.h
In that video, Okumura was interviewed by Daniel Baumann, a Swiss curator who found Takahashifs works in an old exhibition catalog and wrote a blog article which was titled gWho is Hisachika Takahashi? ,h in behalf of Takahashi. Okumura answered Baumannfs questions not as himself but as Takahashi. He explained that he had heard many memories of Takahashi through their conversation and he memorized them. He argued he is Takahashi in a way, if keeping memories is a necessary condition for defining onefs identity.
As if proving his argument, Okumura acted Takahashi very well. While I was watching the video, sometimes I realized I was seeing him as Takahashi himself.

In the video, Okumura (as Takahashi) contended that Takahashifs works and Okumurafs works were synchronized.
For example, in this exhibition, there was Takahashifs old drawing work which he draw several of his favorite hats. Okumura argued the work synchronized with his works because both of them had same theme, memories.
Furthermore, there was the Takahashifs representative work which he had asked other artists to draw a map of America only by memory. For the sake of the Takahashifs work, many famous contemporary artists cooperated to draw the maps.
Okumura argued that the Takahashifs attempt in the work seemed to correspond with what he has been trying in his own works. Indeed their attitudes of trying to involve others' creations in their works were very similar as if Takahashi had taken Okumura's concept in advance decades ago. It seemed that the coincidence happened across time.

Then, are all these miracles?
I donft think so.

It was always in a subtle moment when I saw a miracle in Okumurafs works. I think moment is an essential nature of miracles. They always happen in a moment. A thing which lasts long is not a miracle but a common life.
In this exhibition, the more Okumura emphasized similarity of him and Takahashi, the more they seemed to go away from miracles.
Miracles need no proof because they are beyond reason.
Therefore, the more Okumura insisted that he had transcended the border of Himself showing their synchronization as the proof, the more I felt he didnft.

However, I consider this is the point that we ought to see in this exhibition.
When you think about it, if Okumura acted Takahashi perfectly in the video, itfs just a parlor trick rather than an art work, let alone a miracle.
The point we should see in the video is not their synchronization but a moment the synchronization was broken.
For example, when Okumura (as Takahashi) told he had managed the house of Rauschenberg in New York, Baumann said to him, gWhere was that? The Soho?h Okumura hesitated for a second, saying gI cdon'tc I think so,h but he immediately corrected himself, saying gLafayette Street! 381 Lafayette Street!h
Needless to say, people hardly forget the district where they had lived or had worked for long years even if they canft remember the exact address of it. It is because that the former is a memory which is memorized in onefs body, but the latter is just a data which is memorized by the brain. Okumura could say the exact address because he memorized it as a data. On the other hand, he couldnft say where the address is located because he was not the person who lived there.

It suggests a simple fact: No matter how many memories of others you memorize, you canft become another person.
You canft live any other life except your own.
You can never escape from the cell of Yourself. Itfs the fate of our human.

Then, is this conclusion?
Did I found only the despair in the exhibition?
No, I thought I was able to see a subtle miracle there.

I felt it when I was in the last room of the exhibition.
The mood of the display in the room was significantly different from the former displaysf. There was only a rattan chair in the large room. The chair had extremely long legs and its height was no less than 3 meters high. It looked like a lookout chair which was set on a beach or a poolside.
There was a vertical line which was drawn by crayon on the lower part of the wall, and there was also an Okumurafs poem which was printed in all hiragana on the wall.
According to Okumurafs commentary in the pamphlet of the exhibition, the chair was a Takahashifs work which he made it based on his memory.
The memory likes this. When Takahashi stayed at the Rauschenbergfs studio in Florida, he used to stroll along the beach at dusk. He was fond of sunset, and he wanted to see it as long as he could. One day he happened to jump on the beach after sun set, so he could see faint figure of sun over the horizon. He got an idea from the experience and made the very long legs chair, so he could see sunset a little longer from there.

To be honest, the display in the room confused me at first because I thought it was too romantic.
After reading the episode, it turned out that the drawing line on the wall was horizon and sunset, but I could still hardly comprehend what Okumura was implying through his poem. In any case, they all were too romantic and too sentimental.
To make matters worse, Okumura wrote at the end of his commentary, gHug yourself. Letfs love yourself as another person.h
I thought it was just meddling and it disgusted me. I suspected that Okumura had tried to deceive the defects of his works in romantic mood.

In spite of that, in that room, I got the feeling which was similar to the one I had gotten from Okumurafs works before.
It was when I was thinking about the despair I found in this exhibition.
It is true that I found the despair in the Okumurafs works. I saw limits of human instead of the extension of it. It made me feel like a miracle vanished.
So, is there no miracle in this world?

In considering about it, I happened to see the Takahashifs sunset chair. I got an idea at the moment.
Although you canft escape the cell of Yourself, you can imagine other person as yourself. Come to think of it, it is a great ability. May be it is a miracle.
Compared with the miracle of escaping from the cell of Oneself actually, it might seem shabby. I think it is similar to the Takahashifs long legs sunset chair. You canft escape from Yourself, just like you canft stop the sun from going down. However, you can imagine another person as yourself. You can see yourself in otherfs life through imagination. You can find yourself in otherfs creations.
Like Takahashi could see sunset a little longer from his long legs chair, we can expand the border of Ourselves through imagination. In that sense, Takahashifs sunset chair might be a figure of our imagination. It seems shabby, but itfs a genuine miracle.

I think that the most important thing is to know the limits. You canft see a miracle if you donft know the limits of human. You canft realize a miracle without going through the despair.
Okumura showed it through this exhibition like a magician as always.

‹âÀƒƒ]ƒ“ƒGƒ‹ƒƒX ƒtƒH[ƒ‰ƒ€i2016”N6ŒŽ4“ú`9ŒŽ4“új

posted by ‚R at 22:07| Diary


A sketch of the experience of feeling a small gallery as a cathedral and paintings as holy light

I had seen many exhibition at gallery ƒ¿M and some of them were unforgettable ones.
However, I had not realized that the gallery space was so interesting until I saw the solo exhibition of Jun Koshino there.

The space of Gallery ƒ¿M is a little bit larger than an average gallery in Tokyo, but it is not as large as a museum room. The room is narrow and the ceiling is relatively high.
The most distinguishing feature of the room is that there are six pillars along the both wall. By the pillars, the room is divided into four parts. You can overlook the whole room because the pillars stand near each wall, but the pillars block the line of sight when you see paintings on a wall from a different part of the room.
Some artists had used the feature of the room well for their installation, but I had never seen one who did more effective than Koshino did.

The works of Koshino were minimal paintings, and each of them had only one color. The paintings size is small. It is about the same size as a book, but the depth is relatively thick. They looked like some kind of equipment on the wall than a painting.
However, we can recognize them as paintings through their color. The color was printed on transparent acrylic plates by silkscreen several times. They were very vivid, and no equipment on a wall has such a vivid color. Actually, they were too vivid as a painting. I felt as if they were glowing.

In spite of the uniqueness, I felt the Koshinofs real work was not the objects. His real canvas was the gallery room itself.
Koshino exhibited a pair of the paintings between the pillars, and each pair consisted of one to three paintings. They were displayed on higher place of the wall than usual. Each pair was on a different height, but I didnft feel strange about it because I couldnft see the next pair when I saw a pair. As I described before, the pillars blocked my eyes from a different part of the room.

Because of the high position and the small size of the paintings, I also saw the architecture of the room when I saw the paintings.
At the moment, I realized how interesting this space was.
The room has a beam ceiling. The curves of the beams produced a classical atmosphere.
Of course it is far from a genuine classical style architecture. Itfs indeed a room in the basement of an old multi-tenant building in Tokyo Shitamachi. It usually looks shabby rather than classical.

However, the Koshinofs installation changed everything.
The display was simple and minimum. I think it was the most minimum display I have seen in that place. At the same time, it was the most drastic transfiguration I have ever seen there.
The display was serene and tense. If a painting were moved slightly, the balance will be ruined. The minimum elements rule the whole space in every inch.
As I walked through the room, paintings which were hidden behind the pillars appeared one after another. I saw unnatural vivid colored rectangular boxes on the wall. The appearance was dramatic. I felt I was seeing colors in itself. They looked sublime.

At the time, I felt the gallery space as a sacred place like a church. Despite its small size and simple appearance, the room reminded me of a cathedral. The paintings which were displayed at high place on the wall began to look like windows of church. The color of them reminded me of holy light coming through a stained glass.
It was a superb experience.

In that sense, Koshinofs works reminded me of the origin of paintings in the pre-modern era.
As I told before, his painting itself doesnft look a painting very much. On the other hand, they do not resemble any objects in this world except for paintings. After all, we have no other word but paintings for describing them.
It's obvious that nothing else except for paintings could give me such a feeling.

uƒgƒ‰ƒ“ƒX^ƒŠƒAƒ‹|”ñŽÀ‘Ì“I”üp‚̉”\« vol.1 ‰z–쏁v
gallery ƒ¿Mi2016”N 4ŒŽ9“ú`5ŒŽ14“új

posted by ‚R at 17:01| Diary


Eternity in a moment

I saw Tashiro Kazutomo's photograph exhibition "’Ö‚ÌŠX Vol.3h at photographers' gallery yesterday. The series of "’Ö‚ÌŠXh was the works he had been engaged in before he undertook the series of "‚Í‚Ü‚ä‚è‚̍ ‚É" which he shot the people whom he met in Tohoku region after The Great East Japan Earthquake.
"‚Í‚Ü‚ä‚è‚̍ ‚É" was the work which I met Tashiro's photographs for the first time. Until now, I had thought "‚Í‚Ü‚ä‚è‚̍ ‚É" was a special work for him because the theme, The Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, was a very rare event.
However, in this exhibition, I realized that Tashiro has been a photographer who has an enormous viewpoint already before "‚Í‚Ü‚ä‚è‚̍ ‚É". The excellent point of the work was the virtue he had originally. Obviously, the success of the work was based on a consistency of his own style.

The work of "’Ö‚ÌŠXh is portraits of people whom Tashiro met in north of Kyushu, where he comes from, and south of South Korea which locates on the opposite side of north of Kyushu across the straits.
The style of the work is the same as the style of "‚Í‚Ü‚ä‚è‚̍ ‚É". Each photograph has one person who stands facing the camera. The composition of every photographs is almost same. Every snap were taken on a street, so you can see the scenery of the place on their background.

In the exhibition, the photographs that were taken in Kyushu side and the photographs that were taken in Korean side were mixed. Therefore, I sometimes could not recognize the side on which a picture was taken. Mostly, I barely could recognize it from scenery of background, especially letters on a signboard or a number plate of a car.
On the other hand, I could easily distinguish the nationality of some people from their looks. The resemblance and difference between Japanese and Korean are very odd.

When I saw the various faces in the pictures, it occurred to me that I was seeing not only the faces of several people but also the enormous lineage which was descended for thousands or ten thousands years in the region.
No need to mention Nihon-shoki or something, as we all know Japan and Korean Peninsula had a close relationship for thousands years, and of course our ancestor originally immigrated from the continent in ancient times. It is no doubt that the resemblance and difference of their faces are the results of the thousands or ten thousands yearsf history.
At the same time, I could recognize the resemblance and difference not only in people's face but also in their fashion of clothes and in the streetscape of background. I think the resemblance and difference is result from the contemporaneousness. So, you could find two kind of waves of time in the portraits.

The fact remind me that one person is not only a single person but also a result of blood of thousands of ancestors and the world he/she lives. A person is not a person oneself but also a part that constitutes vast history and world. I had understood it in theory, but Tashiro's work showed it evidently.
On the other hand, as always, the people in the Tashiro's photographs showed strong personality. They looked an unmistakable unique individual.
That is to say, they existed as a unique individual and as a symbol of the history of the region at the same time. Of course actually, we human are existing like that, as a unique individual and as a part of something vast simultaneously. Tashiro's work reminds us of the fact.

It is similar to the way of seeing flowers. We see a flower as a unique flower and as a species at the same time. We can love a species of flower through a particular one flower. It may be no coincidence that both Tashiro's recent works have flower names on their titles.

I consider the way of seeing the whole through the parts is the essence of Tashiro's works. The important point is that it includes the perception of the limits.
Needless to say, we can't know real personality of the people who stands in the Tashiro's photographs. We can't know their real lives neither.
Needless to say, we can't see the whole history of the region from the photographs. We can't see all people who lives in the place and all people who lived there before.
The limits relates to the limits of our lives. We can only live our own lives. We can live one hundred years at the very most. We can't live other life and we can't live in another era. We can't understand others completely even if we live with them throughout life.

I am sure that Tashiro knows the limits deeply more than anyone. He must know that the encounter with a model accounts for only a brief part of his/her whole life time. He knows that a photograph can only record a hundredth of a second of the brief time. They can show completely different looks in the next moment. It also is the essence of photography.
However, I think it is the limits that makes Tashiro's works lively. Though knowing the limits, he tries to meet many people as possible. Though knowing the limits, he tries to make the each encounter into the better one. Though knowing the limits, he tries to make the moment into the best one.
His extraordinary effort against impossibility reminds me some kind of a prayer.

He tries to take various people's portraits as possible. In the exhibition, we can see very various people, from a young girl to an old lady, from a strong young guy with scary face to an old man who seems to be difficult.
Considering accuracy of statistics, it is better to collect more various kind of people for seeing the history of the place from their portraits. However, the value of the diversity of Tashiro's portraits is completely different from the one of statistics in sociology.
In the Tashiro's portraits, we can see his fair attitude against the people from the diversity, and through the attitude, we can see his belief and positiveness of possibility of seeing the vast whole from the parts. That is the point.

Seeing the people who is standing with impressive presence in the Tashiro's photographs, we can also have the belief and positiveness that we can see an eternity in a moment. Tashiro's extraordinary try and his works make us believe that we are able to see the infinity in the limited part.
I think that it is the reason why I always get a feeling of hope when I see Tashiro's photographs.

u“c‘ãˆê—ρ@ ’Ö‚ÌŠX Vol.3v
photographers' gallery + kula photo gallery(2015”N7ŒŽ23“ú`8ŒŽ26“ú)

posted by ‚R at 22:33| Diary


The most uninteresting thing of Takamatsu Jiro's works

I saw the exhibition ofu‚¼ŽŸ˜Yƒ~ƒXƒeƒŠ[ƒYvat The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In spite of growing the reputation of Takamatsu Jiro in recent years, I hadn't thought his works interesting so much. I expected this exhibition would teach me the appeal of his works, but on the contrary, it was curated as if it intended to intensify my dislike for his works.

The weakest point of Takamatsu's works I think is the tendency that his works tend to look like an illustration of the explanation when he (or someone) puts the words of explanation on them. The more he puts the words of explanation, the more they look like an illustration of explanation. The works of á‰eâ series, that is the one with the most impressive visual images in Takamatsu's works, is good sample for that. Obviously, they become dull when they are added the words of explanation.
This was what this exhibition did. They considered Takamatsu's works were based on his deep philosophical thoughts, and tried to explain the works along them. I think that is the most effective method to make Takamatsu's works look boring.

I think the Takamatsu's essential nature was an image maker. He had a distinguished talent for creating striking images.
However, his talent as an image maker tends to make his works look as graphic works that are distinguished but shallow. I consider it was his nature as an image maker that required the philosophical thoughts of his works. He needed them for making his works look as art works. The order was the reverse.

It might be due to his talent for creating striking images that his works tend to look like the illustration of explanation. They tended to look like the illustration for something essentially.
I think Takamatsu himself was aware of the weakness in some degree. If there is something that I take some interest in Takamatsu's works, it is to find his struggle against the limit of his ability.
In fact, we can see his effort to overcome the weakness in some of his works around 1970, for example the work ofwÎ‚Ɛ”Žš(1969)x which was made from his action of writing numbers on stones on a riverside. In that work, neither his action nor the stones become the illustration of the explanation, because we can find the explanation of this works not outside of the work but inside of his action itself.
And the summits of his effort to overcome the limit are the works of w“ú–{Œê‚Ì•¶Žš(1970)xand w‰pŒê‚Ì’PŒê(1970)x, or á‚±‚ÌŽµ‚‚̕¶Žšâ and áTHESE THREE WORDSâ. In these works, the visual images and the words became one. I think it was the peak of his entire works. He had reached something at this point.

After reaching the summits, Takamatsu began paintings. It is difficult to interpret Takamatsu's painting works of his later years.
My view is this. In the beginning, his words and thoughts were the mere explanations of his works. The relation between the words and the images was an accessory one. However, through the struggle to overcome the limit, he bridged the gap between the words and images and they united into one at the works of á‚±‚ÌŽµ‚‚̕¶Žšâ and áTHESE THREE WORDSâ. He reached the peak of something at this point.
After that, I think that he began to try to think by painting. He might have tried to enter a new phase of relationship between words and images. In that try, the words of explanation were not the things that existed outside of the works in advance, but they were the things that he would find through painting the works. It was not an uncommon thing but an common act that every painters are doing ordinarily. However, the process he could reach the state was uncommon and interesting.

The view of the curators of this exhibition was contrary. They emphasized the consistency of his works. (It was reflected in the design of the floor plan of the exhibition.) They said the Takamatsu's paintings are different from the common paintings. They brought the book of Lao-tze from the Takamatsu's book shelf and explained his paintings were based on his thought that was affected by Lao-tze. I think it was the most boring way of seeing his paintings. In that view, the paintings go back to the illustration of the thoughts. The curators obviously can't see the flow of his works.
Of course, the view could be the explanation of the reason why the Takamatsu's paintings are boring. I think that the reason is because he could not get away from the thinking with words completely. However, if there is something that I take some interest in Takamatsu's paintings, it is to find his struggle against the limit of his ability in them.

I admit that Takamatsu was a distinguished artist. I admit that he had a splendid talent for making striking images and his nature as an artist was unique.
However, I don't think what he thought was so unique. It's true that they look profound and difficult, but I don't think they are so original compared with his works themselves. If I gave the most uninteresting thing of Takamatsu's works, it is his thoughts.
Therefore, hypothesizing that Takamatsu's works are based on the deep philosophical thoughts that are as mysterious as we hardly understand and trying to see the works through searching for the answer of the mysteries is the worst way of seeing his works. And I think that is the reason why this exhibition was boring.


posted by ‚R at 18:01| Diary


Books without words

The first exhibition I saw this year wasuƒCƒGƒ‰Eƒ}ƒŠ“W]Žš‚Ì‚È‚¢ŠG–{‚̐¢ŠEvat Itabashi Art Museum. It was a wonderful exhibition, so I think it will be a good year for me.
In the exhibition, I enjoyed the Iela Mari's elaborate drawing skill from the original illustrations of her picture books. Nowadays, we tend to use computer graphic softwares to draw such kind of illustration. After all, some of them are simple colored circles. They look as exact as a circle that is drawn by computer, but they are never the same as the one. Unlike a circle drawn by computer, the Mari's hand drawn circles include vast information. We can sense it even from the printed books. I think picture book without words is the best media for recognizing the kind of excellence of her illustrations.

In the exhibition, I could see not only Mari's picture books but also many others' picture books without words in the world: from the classics, for example Bruno Murari, Anno Mitsumasa, Dick Bruna, Edward Gorey, Lynd Ward and so on, to many fantastic picture books that I had never seen. I wanted to bring all the books back to my home. It was like a treasure land.
Books without words are the special things for me. When I was a kid, from 12 to 15 years old, I lived in Milan because of my father's business. Owing to lack of language skill, I could not read any Italian books in spite of the fact that I was very fond of books. (Language ability have always been the weak point in my life.) However, one day I found a picture book that had no words. There were quite a few cartoons and picture books without words in bookstores in Milan. Although I didn't read the Iela Mari's picture books, I was really into the world of the wordless books. My most favorite artist in those days was Guillermo Mordillo. His book was also featured in this exhibition.

I can't imagine any other media that is able to include such vast world like the books without words. It is as limitless as the universe. I consider it comes from the feature of book. Neither silent films nor a piece of picture is comparable to it. Only the books without words can hold such a limitless possibility. They look like the existence that transcends the laws of this world.
Today, we are living in the complicated world. In our time, I consider it is very important to avoid becoming a fundamentalist, because there are so many persons who believe different kind of creed. One firmly believes that freedom of expression should be respected above all else, but the other believes the religious faith overwhelms it. It is difficult to find a settlement when different creeds conflict. It goes without saying that violence is the worst solution. On the other hand, insisting on own creed will not reach any solution. It is very difficult to keep own faith with respecting others' faith. Therefore our world is filled with the huge amount of meaningless violence and hates.
In such a situation, I think only the things like the books without words might be able to solve the conflicts. This idea has no foundation, but I sensed it when I saw the Iela Mari's and others' picture books without words.

uƒCƒGƒ‰Eƒ}ƒŠ“W ] Žš‚Ì‚È‚¢ŠG–{‚̐¢ŠEv

posted by ‚R at 19:08| Diary


TOP10 of the exhibitions I saw in 2014

As usual, this is the ranking based on the strength of the impression I got.
It means this is nothing but a diary.


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The other impressive exhibitions(seen order)

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Bad impression(dare to select)




I found Ogawa Senyo's name for the first time in early summer of this year. It was when I saw one of his bunjin-ga paintings inu•½¬26”N“x‘æ2‰ñŠ‘ ì•i“W MOMATƒRƒŒƒNƒVƒ‡ƒ“vat The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Actually, I had seen his sketches in the exhibition ofuƒXƒPƒbƒ`ƒuƒbƒN‚ÌŽg‚¢•ûvat Meguro Museum of Art in 2011, but I didn't memorized his name at that time.
I became fond of his work immediately, so I tried to check out him. I saw an old book of his paintings at a library and I was more fascinated by his works. (I bought the book at a secondhand bookstore on internet later.)
When I was searching Senyo's name on internet, I came across the news that his solo exhibition would be held in Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art in this autumn. Senyo had not been much famous artist, so this would be his first solo exhibition at a museum.
I was astonished about the chance that I could see his entire works so soon since I got interest in him. I considered this was the destiny. Therefore, I made up my mind I should never miss it, even though usually I seldom go to such a distant place.
After that, I got the information that same exhibition will be held in Tokyo next year, but I did not change my mind. I never travel far unless such a thing happens, so this was a rare case. Actually this was the first time I went to the Tohoku region.
Eventually, the decision was right. It was a splendid exhibition, and the exhibition gallery was approximately three times larger than the gallery of museum where the same exhibition is scheduled to be held in Tokyo. I guess that the exhibition in Tokyo will become the totally different one.
If I mention about dissatisfaction point of this exhibition, I thought that the number of bunjin-ga paintings was few relatively, on the other hand, the ratio of works of the early era seemed a little large. I considered the bunjin-ga paintings of his latter years as Senyo's masterpiece, so I wanted to see them as more as possible.
However, there was the thing that I was able to find only in this composition. That was the consistency through his life as a painter. He was the painter who always enjoyed painting pictures. I could discover the pleasure of painting pictures from any type and any era of his works. That is to say, he could have kept the fresh feeling for painting a picture all his life. I have never seen such a strong stability in other artists. That's what I was most impressed with in this exhibition.

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It may be incorrect because I have not seen all of Kobayashi Kohei's works, though my view of what he had been doing through his works is as follows.
After the works of monochrome video by surveillance camera, when Kobayashi began to make colored video works that filmed motion of objects in the mid-'00s, I considered that he was trying to convey a thing that is never conveyed to another person. For example, you can never convey a sight you are looking at to another person literally. Expressions about what you are looking at are not identical with what you are looking at. The two always have a difference even if you use any method or any device. No one in the world can convey it. I considered that Kobayashi was trying to convey such a thing through his works.
If he had been trying that, at least, it was amazing that he could convey to me what he was trying for only through the videos. However, it was the fact that what he tried to really convey had not conveyed, yet. In that sense, it was a failure. Hence, my opinion to his work was confused. I could not judge whether I should say his work was interesting or not. For me, suspending the judgment was most suitable attitude to his works.
After that, kobayashi's works was getting complicated steadily. He began to appear on his own works and performed incomprehensible gestures with daily goods. At that point, my view of his works had not changed. I considered that he was still trying to convey the thing which was impossible to convey. He seemed to be trying hard to accomplish it with various way. I thought the trying itself were interesting, but the fact that the trying had not accomplished was still unchanged. The impossible thing was impossible, yet. So, my suspending the judgment of his works also was unchanged. I still could not say whether it was interesting or not.
My confusion plunged into a new stage when another person appeared in kobayashi's works. His name was Yamamoto. On the video, they had incomprehensible conversations about kobayashi's works smoothly. It seemed as if they could communicate with each other. I was astonished because it meant that the thing which was impossible to convey was conveyed to Yamamoto. The fact told that I could not understand what Kobayashi was tying to convey was not because it was the thing which was impossible to convey but just because I was an idiot. Therefore, I felt I was alienated from their conversation.
I think this might be a special feature of kobayashi's works. When I see someone (who mostly seems to be an elite of Contemporary Art or a pedantic person) praises for kobayashi's works passionately, I always feel as if I am told that I am a idiot. That is the same feeling I had received from the conversation between Kobayashi and Yamamoto. Still, for the former, I can comfort myself with thinking the persons who praise kobayashi's works believe only in themselves that they can understand it. However, when it happens in kobayashi's works, I can do nothing but admit that they are able to communicate. It meant that my view of kobayashi's works was mistake fundamentally. Hence, my judgment of his works became more unstable.

The above was my view of kobayashi's works before seeing this exhibition, and I thought kobayashi's works had advanced drastically this time.
The biggest change was that other persons appeared in his videos besides Kobayashi and Yamamoto. Kobayashi and Yamamoto took a role of host, and they tried to make other guests invisible. Therefore they were functioning as a "medium." I think it was the right way. I felt that they functioned in the right way at last.
Their routine conversation, that Kobayashi said to Yamamoto "Hey Yamamoto, I brought such a thing today" and took bizarre objects out every time, looked like a comedy show. The combination of them was similar to a parody of the stereotype of a detective and his buddy, like Poirot and Hastings or Holmes and Watson, or a mad scientist and his assistant. I think it was the right way, too. In a detective story, genuine protagonists ought to be criminals and victims of the crimes. The role of a detective and his buddy is revealing the hidden relationship among them as a "medium." I think it is the similar role of Kobayashi and Yamamoto in the works.
I am sure that looking like a comedy was also the right way for the works. The existence of a protagonist of comedy transforms his surrounding. As a trickster who is free from the common sense, a protagonist of comedy destroys the people's fixed ideas and changes their eyes. This is just the role of Kobayashi.
As for technical side, I thought that the camera work of the videos was very effective. It seemed like an amateur's shooting, and the amateur-like restless camera work was very good. We are apt to try to look for the meaning of the framing when a fixed camera or the author Kobayashi himself shot the video. However, the amateur-like camera work showed the role of Kobayashi and Yamamoto as a "medium" obviously.
The locations of shooting were also seemed to contribute to the success. The Kobayashi previous works' locations, like empty land in suburb where no one is or gallery's white cube room, tended to focus our attention on the meaning of the Kobayashi's acts. In contrast, the locations he chose this time were the tourist spots in Tokyo, and those places were crowded with a lot of people. Such a situation emphasized their role as a "medium" that transforms the surrounding.
I should not forget to mention the effectiveness of the installation. I think that was carefully calculated, and it worked well. For example, when I saw Kobayashi's works in his solo exhibition at YAMAMOTO GENDAI in 2012, I thought that his handmade objects themselves looked like "the works." I am sure that it was not his intention. In contrast, in this exhibition they looked like a kind of "symbol." I considered that they also were functioning in the right way.
The theme "an invisible man" also was effective for this exhibition. The installation was constituted with several videos, and their sounds were mixed with in the room. In the confusion of various sounds and flickering of the videos' lights, I had some moments that I felt as if there was really an invisible man in the gloomy room. It was a strange feeling.
I could not judge whether the thing that is never conveyed was conveyed or not in this exhibition. However, the feeling I got from this exhibition was the thing that I had never known. I felt that I saw the thing that I had never seen before. And this time, my judgment of his works became stable. I am sure it was one of the most outstanding exhibition of Contemporary Art today.

›u‘º‰z‚Æ‚µ‚âŽÊ^“W ‰Î‚Ì•²‚Í•—‚É•‘‚¢ã‚ª‚év

When I saw Murakoshi Toshiya's photographs for the first time, I felt they were fairly good photographs but I could not get any particular impressions from them. I agreed with they were fine-looking black and white photographs, so I enjoyed seeing them to some extent. However, at the same time, I had some doubts because I could not catch a certain meaning of shooting today's scenery with such a classic style. The feeling to his photographs had not been changed even when I saw the photographs that was shot in his birthplace Fukushima after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear accident.
For that reason I had not expected so much when I heard about the news that his solo exhibition would be held at Kichijoji Art Museum. After hesitating, finally I dashed into the exhibition at final day.
When I saw the exhibition, I was relieved from the bottom of my heart that I had not missed it. It was a great exhibition. I had not been able to imagine that such a vast world could be appeared in such a small gallery of Kichijoji Art Museum. I had seen some exhibitions that succeeded in making a large world with the effect of installation in art museum galleries this year, for exampleu‘æ6‰ñŒb”äŽõ‰f‘œÕ ƒgƒDƒ‹[EƒJƒ‰[ƒYvat Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography andu‚³‚í‚Ђ炫 Under the Box, Beyond the Boundsvat Tokyo Opera City Art Gallary. Although those art museums are much larger than Kichijoji Art Museum, I felt like the world Murakoshi had made was as large as them, or even larger.
In this exhibition, you could see the photographs that he shot in Fukushima after the nuclear accident. Though, there was no explanation about the photographs in the gallery. I think it was the very right choice that he vanished every words from the gallery. I was overwhelmed by the strength of absence of words.
The installation had been carefully planned, so I felt as if I were reading a novel when I went around the exhibition. In addition, the experience resembled a long journey. I felt like as if it was the travel through the netherworld like Dante's journey in Divine Comedy. Then, a shiver ran down my spine when I realized the fact that "the netherworld" in these photographs actually exists in this world.


This had been the most expected exhibition this year, and eventually, it was more wonderful than I had expected. It was the first exhibition of Felix Vallotton in Japan, and I think that it will be memorized as a historic one.
The gallery of Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum was suitable for Vallotton's works. It was interesting for me that the Vallotton paintings looked well-matched for the museum's imitation fireplace, in contrast to the Chardin paintings that had never been suited for it when I had seen them at the same place two years ago.
If I could see an exhibition of this level once a year, what a luxurious life it would be!


My grandfather was a chaser of sword-guards. I heard it from my mother when I was a kid, and I thought that it was ridiculous that he had tried to make a living by making sword-guards after the Meiji period when samurai had already disappeared. I thought that I was able to understood why my grandfather had been in poverty.
Nowadays, I don't think it's ridiculous that someone bets one's life to making sword-guards. On the contrary, I think such a way of life is cool. Why do I think it's cool? It is not because the person makes respectable traditional art works. Rather, it's because the person would try to bet one's life to useless things.
I used to think that the meaning, or raison d'etre, of traditional art is protecting worthy techniques from extermination, but it was misunderstanding. The way of thinking that we need to protect techniques of traditional art from extermination because they are useful for society is tainted by modernism. Rather, they have to be protected because they are useless for modern life. Handing down itself is the value of Tradition. The true value exists in the behavior.
In this world, there are things that can only arise from useless thing. However, it is difficult for human to do a thing without a reason, especially if you would bet your life for it. We are the creature that can't escape from rationality to the end.
Tradition can be a reason, or an excuse, at the situation. I think it might be the real value of Tradition. In the first place, Kogei is the art that consists of an excuse. In my opinion, the essence of Kogei is the fact that they are at once art works and articles of utility. In other words, the difference between Kogei and Fine Art is presence or absence of utility. However in that, the "utility" is an excuse basically. Nobody really use a living national treasure making bowl for everyday meal. Most of the time, they are made not for using but for seeing. In other words, they are made for beauty.
However, making beautiful things for enjoying beauty is a rational behavior. And a beauty within rationality has a limit. Therefore, in order to exceed the limit, we have to insist obstinately that thay are made for using. When using is the top priority of the objects, beauty is an addition. In that situation, we consider that it is ridiculous that a person would bet his life to pursuing beauty because that is merely a secondary thing. This is the very reason that Kogei needs "utility" as a formality. In other words, it means that the most important thing of Kogei exists only out of rationality.
In this exhibition, I could find that the concept of Tradition could be the most powerful excuse for a person who devotes oneself to pursuing an irrational thing. It can be solid basis for the creation. I think that it is much difficult for an artist of Fine Art to get such solid basis. Though, there is a reason that artists of traditional Kogei need such a strong basis.
I saw an interview video at the exhibition. In the video, a potter, who succeeded the master name which had been passed down from generation to generation for 400 years, said he had pursued a peculiar red all his life. He said that the pursuing had been handed down from his predecessors, and it would not be completed during his era. It would be passed down to his successor.
Of course it looks a ridiculous thing that a potter clan had devoted their lives to making a peculiar red of ceramics for hundreds of years. However, there is the thing that nothing but such a way can create it. That is something beyond the value of this world.
I could see such a thing in this exhibition. Everyone is astonished by the ultimate craftsmanship of their works, but it is only surface. The soul of their works lurked under the superhuman craftsmanship. It was beyond forms. I felt like it was a kind of philosophy. That is the thing not easy to be realized normally. However, this exhibition gave a good opportunity to find it in spite of the popular taste one.
On the other hand, some might criticize their works as far from the actuality, like I regarded my grandfather's job as ridiculous. I can understand such a opinion to a certain degree. I agree half of it. I was impressed deeply by their work truly, but at the same time, I felt something that I could not swallow completely remained.
Nevertheless, it is true that I envied them a little that because they had such a strong basis like Tradition for pursuing irrational things.

›u‘æ6‰ñŒb”äŽõ‰f‘œÕ ƒgƒDƒ‹[EƒJƒ‰[ƒYv

The exhibition of Œb”äŽõ‰f‘œÕ is good every year. Above all, this year's exhibition was particularly splendid. The works made the theme of the exhibition stable, and the theme enhanced the works. I consider it was like a model of good exhibition.
The feeling as if I had traveled to every corner of the world still remains on me. (I wrote the details on Twitter. )


I had not known that Giorgio de Chirico's paintings are so interesting. Especially, Neo Metafisica paintings are too interesting. In spite of kitsch, they have true aura of painting. It's very strange.
This year I saw several original works of Paul Noble at last in the exhibition ofuƒvƒ‰ƒCƒx[ƒgEƒ†[ƒgƒsƒAvat Tokyo Station Gallery. I guess that he was influenced by de Chirico. Is it correct?

›uƒIƒ‹ƒZ[”üpŠÙ“W ˆóÛ”h‚Ì’a¶v

I used to hate the exhibitions which are titled asu››”üpŠÙ“Wv, because in general they are crowded as hell and the curations are poor as a paper tiger. However, although being crowded as hell has not changed, as concerns the curation, sometimes I run across the good one these days.
Above all, this exhibition was superior by far. Especially the room that exhibited the landscape paintings which the Impressionists, Pissarro, Cezanne, Sisley, Monet and Renoir, had painted in 1870's was really overwhelming. I could distinguish each personality and essence of them well.
It was good that not only the Impressionists' paintings but also the works of academic painters of the same era were exhibited together. As a result I could image how the Impressionists' works had been looked in that era.
I could learn a lot in this exhibition.

›uŠâŒF—Í–ç“W weightv‚ÅŒ©‚½‰f‘œì•isƒnƒ„ƒTƒXƒ‰ƒqƒt

I did not think that the solo exhibition of Iwakuma Rikiya at Kobayashi Gallery was a splendid one. I thought some works were not so good and the installation was a little messy.
However, one of his works enthralled me. It was the oil painting animation which was titledsƒnƒ„ƒTƒXƒ‰ƒqƒt.
The theme of the animation was the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. I thought the depiction of the animation was a little too sentimental and the editing was not so sophisticated. However, it was the first time I could feel sympathy for a painter's work that dealt with the Great Earthquake as a theme.
In the animation, he synchronized the public great disaster with personal memories. When I saw it, I thought it was just what I had felt in those days. I had felt as if the disaster had happened as a result of my sin. The animation depicted such a vague feeling well.
I felt that the author had made himself defenseless in the work, and I consider it was the factor of success. It seemed a little too defenseless, but it brought the good result in the end.
On the other hand, I was not impressed so much by his other works that were historical people portraits painted on white dresses, because I felt that he had created them by more theory than heart. I even felt them a little pedantic. I think they lacked somethingsƒnƒ„ƒTƒXƒ‰ƒqƒthad.

›uƒfƒBƒXƒJƒo[AƒfƒBƒXƒJƒo[EƒWƒƒƒpƒ“ u‰“‚­v‚֍s‚«‚½‚¢v

This exhibition consisted of two floors. The upper floor was very lively. The gallery was filled with plenty of posters and goods of the Discover Japan campaign. The TV Commercial of the campaign was being played without a break, and I almost went crazy by being forced to listen to the CM song endlessly.
Every catch phrase on the posters made me laugh because they were outdated and silly. However, after laughing, I shuddered because I had realized that they were no different from advertising today at all. We are definitely still surrounded by such silly phrases.
When we notice it, we understand that this display might be a caricature of today's world. The method to urge people to go to one direction without thinking has not changed. If you realized that, you would notice the resemblance between the main catch phrase of the campaignu”ü‚µ‚¢“ú–{‚ÆŽ„vand the current prime minister Abe Shinzo's sloganu”ü‚µ‚¢‘v.
I thought it was interesting that this exhibition depicted the era, 70's in Japan, as a kind of dystopia. I have seen several exhibition that review Japan's postwar era in recent years. Most of them may have intended to criticize the present through the past, but I sometimes felt like their attitude toward each particular era was stereotyped. That is, the era before and during the war tend to be depicted as total darkness, and 50's-70's political movements tend to be depicted ideally. But, was it true? I can't help doubting things which described with a one-sided view.
For that reason, it was new that this exhibition made me feel the 70's as a kind of dystopia. What is more, it was lively dystopia! It raised credibility that it did as whistle blowing from the inside of JR.
However, the display on the lower floor was somber in contrast to the upper floor. There were photographs that was taken for Fine Art rather than a commercial in the same period including the works of a photographer who had opposed the Discover Japan campaign. I thought that the curator of this exhibition had intended to show the fact that there had been the cool people who had not been manipulated by the mass campaign in those days. If that's so, the comparison was too simple. More than anything, the display was so somber! It was obvious that the upper floor was far more fun than the lower one. I was disappointed at the latter half of the exhibition.
At a later date, when I read the catalog of the exhibition, I found the curator's intention had been different. He had not intended to praise the people who had opposed the Discover Japan campaign. Rather, he criticized them for their rough argument. In that case, we could interpret the somber display on the lower floor as metaphor of their feeble opposition. This may be reading too much into it, but we might be able to see criticism of the stereotyped leftist opposition against power from it.
Though, the curator did not deny the whole of their opposition stance but criticized the flaw of the argument. To the campaign, he did not take a simple stance, too. I was able to see his critical stance to the campaign from the display, but at the same time he countered the rough criticism against the campaign in the catalog. Thanks to staying neutral, I think he could propound a lot of issues from this exhibition. It is a problem that we can't understand them without reading the catalog, but I think it was an unique exhibition in this year.

›uƒAƒ“ƒfƒBEƒEƒH[ƒzƒ‹“W ‰i‰“‚Ì15•ªv

This was the largest Andy Warhol exhibition I have seen in recent years. I was able to find new understanding by seeing the whole of his works at a time. For example, one of the lessons I got from this exhibition is below.
"You can't get a new thing without throwing away something. To get a big thing, you must throw away something big you already have."

›uƒ”ƒHƒ‹ƒtƒKƒ“ƒOEƒeƒBƒ‹ƒ}ƒ“ƒX Affinityv

To tell the truth, I had not been crazy about Tillmans' works. I felt his works smart, but I had never been impressed deeply.
However, I was able to understand his greatness in this exhibition at last. I had felt his installation as some kind of fashion before, but in this exhibition, I could feel some kind of philosophy from the perfection of it.

›u‚³‚í‚Ђ炫 Under the Box, Beyond the Boundsv

The most impressive exhibition of Sawa Hiraki was the one I saw his works for the first time in 2003. And I had never been impressed more deeply in his exhibition since then.
However, I met his most splendid exhibition at last. In this exhibition, I could feel the whole of the gallery as a work. I felt as if I was journeying inside of a music box. Especially, the new work titled "Envelope" which was placed near the last part was amazing. At that place, after journeying through the exhibition, you should become aware for the first time that the world has turned over. When I became aware of it, I really shuddered.

›u–ö£³–² 1900-1945 Žž‘ã‚ÌŒõ‚Ɖe‚ð•`‚­v

This was a good opportunity to see the whole of the works of Yanase Masamu. I could see how talented he had been in his youth, and also could see how distinctly the talent had vanished after he had been arrested in violation of the Public Security Preservation Laws when he was 32 years old.
What a mysterious thing human talent is! And how closely a person's talent and the times he lives relate!

›u‚–öŒb—¢ –û’fv

I saw two superb exhibition of Takayanagi Eri last year. The one was exhibited in an interior shop and the other was exhibited in one of the vast gallery of MOT. I thought that both spaces were difficult to exhibit, but both exhibition astonished me because of the high level installations. She transformed those spaces quietly but drastically.
And this year Takayanagi exhibited in the annex gallery of The Ueno Royal Museum. I thought that the space was more difficult to exhibit than former two. However, she transformed the space more drastically and more quietly. I took my cap off to her high skill.

›uŽR‰ª•q–¾ŒÂ“W ƒOƒ`ƒbƒNŒ`‘ÔŠwv

I saw this artist's works for the first time, and I felt empathy for his energy for endless drawing. I could feel as much as if it were my own energy. Feeling the empathy so strong, I was about to buy one of his works when I changed my mind and gave up. In any case, he was the most impressive artist among the ones whose works I saw for the first time this year.
Among the exhibition I saw at the same gallery,uûüŽR—z‰î ¬‰®‚É“ú‚ªo‚é ‚¨‚͂悤vwas also an impressive one. I had seen his solo exhibition last year and I thought it was interesting, and this year's exhibition was more interesting than that.

›u–k“‡ŒhŽOgUNTITLED RECORDSh“W Vol.1AVol.2AVol.3v

The exhibition of Vol.1 and Vol.2 shocked me. However, when I saw the exhibition of Vol.3, I had a little concern. Will it be continued after another 17 times without changing significantly?
I think that I will be unable to evaluate the series until I will have seen the whole of them.

›uŠ‘ ì•i“W ‰Ôv•uŠ‘ ì•i“W ‚±‚Ç‚à{‚¨‚ƂȍHŒ|ŠÙ ‚à‚悤‚í‚­‚í‚­v

Nowadays, I look forward to see an exhibition of the Crafts gallery when I go to The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. In spite of the usual museum collection exhibitions and the trashy titles, these exhibitions were excellent.


Maybe I should have put this exhibition into the top 10 list. It was true that I had enjoyed seeing plenty of Balthus's works at a time.
However, unlike Vallotton, it was not the first Balthus exhibition I had seen, so it can't be helped that the impression tends to fade relatively. In addition to that, I could find no particular thing besides the large number of the works in this exhibition. Though the large number of Balthus's works itself is an amazing thing, of course.
Being impressed strongly, I determined to revisit the exhibition when I was seeing it, but after all I did not.

›uŒKŒ´bŽq—Y‚̎ʐ^ ƒg[ƒLƒ‡[EƒXƒPƒbƒ`60”Nv

I once saw the group exhibition that showed Kuwabara Kineo's photographs and Araki Nobuyoshi's photographs together at the Setagaya art museum. At that time, I was surprised that their photographs looked so different. It was the difference of recognizing of the date of the scenes in their photographs. In the Kuwabara's photographs, I could distinguish the date of the photographed scenes well. In contrast, I could not say when a Araki photo had been shot, because even his photographs that were shot recently looked retro as if they were shot in old times. The theme of the exhibition was "Tokyo", so I could see the changing of times in Tokyo on the Kuwabara's photos, but I felt as if time had stopped in the Araki's photos. At that time, I thought it was due to the Araki's nature. Looking timeless is one of the feature of Araki's photos.
However, when I saw this Kuwabara's exhibition this year at the same museum, I realized I had been wrong. It was not only due to Araki's nature but also due to Kuwabara's nature. The Kuwabara's talent of capture of times was outstanding. No one can photograph the distinct atmosphere of each of the times like him. When I saw this exhibition, I felt like as if I was traveling through time in Tokyo.

›u•½¬26”N“x‘æ2‰ñŠ‘ ì•i“W MOMATƒRƒŒƒNƒVƒ‡ƒ“v‚Ì‘æ10Žº‚Ì“WŽ¦

As mentioned above, thanks to this exhibition I went to Fukushima to see the Ogawa Senyo's exhibition. In addition to the Senyo's bunjin-ga painting, I could see Yasuda Yukihiko'ss˜Z‰Ìåtand Tuchida Bakusen's sketchbooks.

›u•sŽv‹c‚È“®‚« ƒLƒlƒeƒBƒbƒNEƒA[ƒg“Wv

Before I saw this exhibition, I had thought it was sort of a summer vacation program for children. However, it was a very scholarly exhibition. Of course many children were enjoying the moving objects, but not only that, it was also the exhibition that introduced the overseas minor art movement that was difficult to see in Japan normally. In that sense, this exhibition was in the same category ofuƒIƒ‰ƒ“ƒ_Eƒn[ƒO”h“Wv, which introduced Hague School, anduƒgƒXƒJ[ƒi‚Æ‹ß‘ãŠG‰æv, which introduced Italian modern paintings in Toscana including Macchiaioli, that I had seen at the same museum this year and last year. It was a good opportunity to know the movement of Italian kinetic art.
In addition to this, I felt that the first exhibition room that displayed Op art works was very stylish. It was the first time that I felt Op art paintings so cool. It was so comfortable, so I felt as if I could stay in the room forever.
That is to say, this was the scholarly, enjoyable and stylish exhibition.

›u“DÛ —é–ØŽ¡‚̐¢ŠEv

Good installation. And it was good for me to find that Suzuki's ceramic works were related with words closely.

›uƒtƒBƒIƒiEƒ^ƒ“ ‚Ü‚È‚´‚µ‚ÌŽŠwv

Before I saw this exhibition, I had seen Fiona Tan's works in the exhibition ofuƒS[EƒrƒgƒDƒC[ƒ“ƒYvat Mori Art Museum and her solo exhibition at WAKO WORKS OF ART. I thought both of them were uninteresting, so I had not expected this exhibition at all. However, it was splendid.
I think the success resulted from the good curation. It was the right choice that they cut down to 4 works for the gallery and added two early film works for the theater. Both films were very impressive. I had been thinking about words through this year, but this exhibition reminded me of the importance of thinking about images.

›uw•Ÿ“c®‘ãì•iW 2001-2013xo”Å‹L”O“Wv

I thought that Fukuda had changed. Maybe she had completed the decade works and entered the new stage. Her new works made me feel as if the author's existence had become more transparent. I thought that she put herself to a role of filter that transfers things of this world to another world. I felt like she had reached the point that she could accept the role naturally after had gone through the decades of struggle.
Her display in the exhibition ofuŠJŠÙ20Žü”N‹L”O MOTƒRƒŒƒNƒVƒ‡ƒ““Á•ÊŠé‰æ ƒRƒ“ƒ^ƒNƒcvwith Giuseppe Penone was also splendid. It consisted of her old works but I felt like they adapted themselves to this world naturally more than before. I had seen the author's conflict with the world in them before, but it seemed to have been sublimated in the new installation.

The exhibition ofuŠJŠÙ20Žü”N‹L”O MOTƒRƒŒƒNƒVƒ‡ƒ““Á•ÊŠé‰æ ƒRƒ“ƒ^ƒNƒcvitself was a good program. I enjoyed the combination of the Japanese younger artists' works and the old master's works.
The most interesting pair for me was Ishida Hisashi and Sam Francis. Both of them is the artist I don't like so much. Especially, I have never once thought Ishida's works interesting. I didn't know why I was not able to feel any interest from his works.
However, I found the reason when I saw the comparison of their works. To put it briefly, I realized that Ishida's drawings were drawn for effects of film eventually. I felt as if he had drawn them by calculating back from a forecast of finished film. I didn't think the Sam Francis giant paintings good at all, but they had been painted for the paintings at least. Comparing their works, the difference was obvious. Thanks to this exhibition, I could realize it at last.


I am in two minds whether to write about this exhibition or not. I am afraid to hurt someone whom I don't need to hurt and I don't want to waste my time for it. However, my intuition tell me that I should write down about it. It says I should write down the uneasy feeling that I felt in this exhibition.
The exhibition consisted of two floors, and showed the works of two studio for persons with intellectual disabilities in each floor.
The uneasy feeling I got was caused in mainly the lower floor. The works of a studio for persons with Down's syndrome were displayed there. I happened to listen to a talk of the organizer of this studio on the radio some years ago. At that time, I was impressed by her talk about activity of the studio, and I wished I would be able to see their works someday.
However, when I saw the works actually, I didn't have a good impression. I could not find something outstanding from them. In my eyes, they were not so much different from ordinary children's paintings.
Of course the reason I could not understand their works' value might be caused by my fault. It may be because I have no sense of beauty or my mind is too dirty to feel it. However, apart from judging the aesthetic value, there was something that I could not accept. For one thing, I felt uneasy about the resemblance of their works. The organizer said they didn't give any guidance or instruction to the Down's syndrome persons at the studio. Nevertheless, I felt a common taste through their works, and I thought it was a conventional Art-ish taste.
There are some possible factors of it. The works in the exhibition were selected by the exhibition curator and the studio organizers probably, so it is natural to think that their taste would have been reflected in the selected works. Besides it, I saw a video that filmed their working, and it showed the organizer and supporters surrounded the Down's syndrome persons and stared they were painting. It is possible that their creation were affected by the reaction of surrounding people to some extent. In either case, it can be considered the stereotyped Art-ish atmosphere in the exhibition derived not from the Down's syndrome persons but from the people who support them.
I who could not understand wonderfulness of their works felt the Art-ish tastes absurd. At the risk of being misunderstood, I must confess that I had a moment that an abstract painting which was some kind of Contemporary Art-ish style in the exhibition looked like a painting that was painted by an animal, like a chimpanzee or an elephant.

The organizer explained the world of their works was named Art Immaculee, or Innocent Art. In the exhibition, that was declared as new ideology of Art. From their words, I interpreted it as new value that overcomes the conventional Art.
However, judging from this exhibition, I have to say that Innocent Art seemed merely a light version of Art Brut, or Outsider Art. It seemed the thing that removed the parts of dark and heavy from Art Brut.
To make matters worse, the Innocent Art as a light version of Art Brut looked to be in demand. They seemed to match with walls of fashionable shop or some kind of place, and people can decorate a room with them easily unlike genuine Art Brut works. Of course if a person wish for the works of Innocent Art after understanding their true value, there is no problem. However, if the value depended on the fact that the works were painted by persons with Down's syndrome, is there any difference from valuing paintings which was painted by animals?
I consider that the problem of the ideology of Innocent Art and this exhibition was lack of sense of awe to Art. I have seen many good exhibition of Art Brut, or Outsider Art, or Able Art. There was no exhibition that I could not feel any mental conflict of the people who were concerned with them. It is the necessary conditions for good exhibition of Art Brut, because problem of exploitation and discrimination always exist in Art Brut. No, it's not only in Art Brut. It is the essence of Art itself. Therefore, we can never escape from it. Of course, if you enjoy only surface of Art, you may stay away from the problem. However, if you want to go into the level of someone's soul through works of Art, the risk will be never avoidable.
About a year ago, I saw a video that filmed the tour of Japanese Art Brut artists who were going to Paris for their exhibition. I had seen the traveling exhibition in Japan and had enjoyed it very much, but the documentary video gave me a bit different feeling. Something in the video made me uneasy. For example, I saw a scene that an artist, whose works were his own underwears painted pictures on by him, was hanging about uneasily in front of his works at the exhibition. His mother explained delightfully that he wanted to take back his underwears and go back home, and the cameraman and the surrounding people laughed. When I saw that scene, I felt a pang of conscience. I felt a sense of guilt because I realized that was the very scene of exploitation.
About Art Brut, we are on a thin rope at all times. You will drop when you are not careful, so you must never forget it. Every good exhibition of Art Brut I have seen possessed much carefulness. Not only Art Brut's but also all good exhibition of Art I have seen had the carefulness in each degree. However, I must say that I could not feel the carefulness in this exhibition. Perhaps, it may have been forgotten behind the ambition for presenting the new ideology of Art.
Of course Art is good thing for us, and I have no objection to the activity of the studio. If the persons with Down's syndrome made themselves happy by making art works, it's really wonderful. Or rather, it is a wonderful thing for persons with or without Down's syndrome. It is a general goodness of Art from the ancient times, without bringing the ideology of "Innocent Art" or "Art as a Haven of Happiness."
However, it is another story that we find the value of Art in their works and enjoy them as works of art. That is the story with exploitation and discrimination. We should be extremely careful here.
I think the title of the exhibition is the symbol of fault. They called it paradise, or utopia. However, it is the truth that lack of imagination is the only way to make paradise in this world, and only people who blind themselves to every dark side of the world can live in utopia.

...What a hard work writing a diary of a year at a time is!
I should write this blog more often next year.

posted by ‚R at 22:43| Diary


Notes and portraits - Tashiro Kazutomo "When hamayuris are in bloom"

I felt difficulty in speaking words for a while when the Great East Japan earthquake happened the year before last. I was afraid that the words I said might hurt somebody, because I could not judge exact depth of wound of others.
The Fukushima nuclear plant accident made worse the situation. Because no one could say the exact damage of the radioactivity, the dispute about nuclear plants and radioactivity became like a religion war.
As a result, I felt that the world had fallen under the control of sectarianism. I felt that no word I said could escape that they were connected with a sect. It seemed like that every words in the world turned to the political words.
I consider that it was caused by the remorse of having caused a nuclear plant accident. We got the pressure that we must choose the correct answer for the future this time. I felt that society as a whole seemed to suffer from illness of "the correctness". It made me feel like suffocating.

At that time, I saw the exhibition of "When hamayuris are in bloom" that was photography work by Tashiro Kazutomo. Tashiro often went to Tohoku region and photographed people whom he met there after the earthquake.
I was astonished by the boldness of his action. Tashiro was from Kyushu and he have had no relationship to Tohoku. An outsider asked the residents to become the model of his photograph in the damaged area soon after the disaster. I could not believe such reckless action.

However, I had been completely enchanted by this work after I saw Tashiro's photographs and read his notes about the photos. I had never experienced such a shock that I got from the work. I reflected on myself and also I felt that I touched the thing such as some warm light of hope at the same time.

The style of the work is simple. They are the portraits of the people whom Tashiro met in Tohoku. He asked the people whom he met there and photographed only persons who consented. He shoot the whole body of them and he added simple notes about the photograph.
Tashiro had photographed more than 1200 people for two years. The 453 pieces of those were chosen and were published as a photobook recently.

I am fond of Tashiro's words as much as his photographs. I consider that his notes are very important in this works.
They are short sentences and the contents are the words that Tashiro heard from the people who were photographed, the episodes of the photography and the reflection of Tashiro himself.

I am sure Tashiro was aware that his act of photographing was violent. Therefore he was careful not to hurt the persons who were photographed very much.
After the violence of the earthquake, any trivial thing could become the fatal violence. If he brought himself to have understood the people it becomes already a violence. It might hurt the people in some cases.
Therefore he wrote his notes very carefully. He never imagines and wrote the inside of the people. He did not write what he could not understand. He wrote only things that he looked, heard and thought.
I consider that his attitude to respect the persons who were photographed is the life of this work.

I am sure that it needs more tens of thousands of times tense for the work Tashiro wrote about the persons whom he met in Tohoku than my difficulty in speaking words just after the earthquake. However, his notes are not coward in spite of cautious. He wrote what he must record with minimum words as much as possible.
As a result, we can read some precious words that are given in the brutal situation. Those words tell us a lot of things more than any kind of long literary work.

We can feel the tension from every words that were added to the photographs which were photographed in the early days of the disaster. Even to some casual words, we imagine the situation that the words were spoken and guess what they really means.
However, the words gradually regained normal meanings as the days passed. I think that it is an effect of the photographs. They are mere simple notes, nevertheless we can read the infinite meaning from the words when they are combined with the photographs. In between the photographs and the notes, we can read all of the words that Tashiro could not make the words.

The Tashiro's photograph style is stoic in the same way as his notes. He did not choose the models by his preference. He photographed any person whom he met there with the same format without distinction.
Therefore the persons who only visited there were photographed as "the person whom he met there" the same as the people who had lived there for many years.

I am sure the way of the equality was be to resist violence of the categorization. The violence to categorize the people as "victim" forcibly was the most dangerous thing that Tashiro had to stay away from. What made the people "victim" were the earthquake at first, and the labeling by the mass media and us next.
The work of Tashiro was to take off the label which were put on them. He met the people who had been to be an abstract and a number and recovered them as the each person who had own face.

Therefore in the Tashiro's photographs, every person who stayed there by any reason and every person who had what kind of job were treated in the same way. The value of usefulness for the reconstruction has no superiority in his photographs. The judgment that the opinion and the action are wrong or right is not being questioned there.
They were the irreplaceable persons who should be blessed only because they were there.

What Tashiro photographed was an encounter. He seems to persuade himself out of putting too much confidence in own ability that he can photograph the more things.
He must know that he cannot understand the feelings of the persons whom he photographs. He never overestimate his own ability about it.
In the first place, we never completely understand other people. It is arrogance to think that you can do it. It is a presupposition of communication that we must recognize that we cannot understand others completely.

However, Tashiro's photographs show us that the encounter was valuable and precious even if they could not understand each other. The most important thing was not to understand but to encounter.
I can feel that Tashiro blessed the encounters more than anything from his photographs. He put off every value judgment and was pleased with the encounter above all.
As a result, every person in his photograph shows unique presence as the irreplaceable person.

In the world that tends to make a sect by difference of opinion and faith, it will be a hope that we can be pleased with an encounter although we can not understand each other.
Therefore, in spite of heavy contents, I feel that I am saved when I see the Tashiro's work.

I think that I was able to understand the meaning of the existence of "others" for the first time by encountering this work. My way of looking at people around me had changed. My mind for people who live in this world together had changed completely.
It was very important for me that I could meet this work. To me, the encounter was irreplaceable.

gKazutomo Tashiro - When hamayuris are in bloom: 2013 spring"
photographers' gallery + kula photo gallery(November,06 -November,24, 2013)

Tashiro Kazutomo "When hamayuris are in bloom"

posted by ‚R at 08:51| Diary


About a miracle

There was a calm and peaceful atmosphere in that place. Maybe because there were many staff and participants, everyone seemed to be friendly and relaxed.
In such a warm atmosphere, I stood in utter amazement while watching two painters who drew pictures on the floor. I told myself, "What in the world is happening here?"

It was a scene in the exhibition "Azamino Contemporary vol.4 SUPER PURE 2013 - my rule, my style" which I saw in Yokohama citizen gallery Azamino the other day. When I went to there, the open studio event was holding, and two painters who joined the exhibition were drawing the pictures in the gallery.
The two painters who groveled on the floor and drew were Inoue Masaru and Tanaka Mutsumi from Aterier Yamanami. It was the first time that both of them exhibited their works at an exhibition. It was less than one year yet since they have begun to draw pictures. Incidentally, Inoue is 70 years old and Tanaka is 57 years old.
They motivated by neighboring friends in the studio and have begun to draw a picture suddenly in spite of they have not drawn a picture until they were current age. I think it was a good story.

However, it was more than a good story. Because their works were amazing.
The pictures they drew were bigger than their heights. Inoue drew with pencil and Tanaka drew with pastel crayons on such a large paper. Inoue's monochrome pencil drawing was a picture of deformed figure of human that reminded of ancient hieroglyphic art a little. Tanaka's pastel drawing was a colorful picture of portrait that was drawn boldly and I felt slightly sensual feeling from it.
I had never seen the pictures such as both of them and they were not the picture which a painter whose career is less than in one year could draw.
Both of them dressed up for the event. The appearance which two of them faced each other and drew avidly was an impressive scene.

However, it was not the reason why I was impressed by. I was impressed by the feeling that the real art was appearing here. I had never impressed so much though I had seen the scenes that artists create their works many times before.
Why was I so impressed by?

SUPER PURE 2013 was the exhibition that showed the works of 16 artists who have handicaps. They would be included in so-called art brut(outsider art).
It is difficult to define "art brut". Originally it was the word that meant to about the creation of the mental patients, but the works of other kind of people are also included today.
The common definition of art brut is that the works that are made by people who have not gotten a formal art education. However, all of the works which the person who have not gotten a formal art education made are not considered as art brut. That is still not enough.
I am sure that Jean Dubuffet should have had a shock from the works at first when he invented the concept of art brut. The shock must be essence of art brut.
When I see a work of art brut, I usually get a strong emotion more than logic. The important part is "more than logic." I think that the definition of art brut "person who have not gotten a formal art education" is like the sign to notice us that is "more than logic."

The reason why I was impressed to see the secene that two aged persons drew the pictures at the open studio event was that it was "more than logic." In other words, I was impressed to see a miracle.
I think it was true that the fact that they were old and had handicaps became the big factor for me to recognize that the scene was a miracle. However, it was not the essence. It was only something like a tag that reminds us that it was a miracle.
The miracle was the pictures they drew. The miracle was their creation itself.
I think that they themselves understood it better than anyone else. They were absorb themselves in their creation without caring the staff who was concerned about their physical condition ordered them to take a break. I could feel that they were amazed at their own ability that they had not noticed for a long time and were glad of the creation.
In other words the miracle that happened there is the thing included in all creation as possibility. No, it is included in life itself.

Why do we need a miracle? Why are we so impressed when we see a miracle?
Probably it may be because we cannot "believe" that it is already a miracle that we are here now while we "know" it.
We cannot explain the miracle that we are here now with words. It is necessary for us to transcend a logics to be able to believe it. It is the reason why we need a miracle.

A miracle changes our understanding of the world completely. We realize that the world where we live is so large and filled with unknown possibilities when we see a miracle.
A miracle is for all people. Because a miracle changes our understanding not only about a person's ability but also about the structure of this world.
If there is a miracle in the world, the meaning of our own existence changes. We can believe that the limits in the world are unknown. It may be the reason that we are encouraged when we see a miracle even if it is a small one.
A miracle gives a hope for our life.

I have the unforgettable words that I heard from the teacher of the art cram school when I was young. It was the words that "the drawing skill does not improve gradually but becomes good suddenly."
Apart from what the teacher really meant, I heard the words as heavenly revelation.
Yes! Drawing skill will becomes good suddenly! In spite of my works is poor now, the one which I draw next may become something great! The possibility that my next work become the picture which anyone have never seen is not zero!
I believed it and I have continued drawing a picture until today.
I still believe that the picture I draw next may become something extraordinary. I still believe that the miracle will happen. I continue drawing because I believe a miracle.

The reason why I am impressed by the works of art brut and all kinds of arts which transcend logics will be that I recognize some kind of "sign" there. It is the sign that there is a miracle in this world.
If there is a miracle in the world, the place is filled with infinite possibility.

"Azamino Contemporary vol.4 SUPER PURE 2013 - my rule, my style"
Yokohama citizen gallery AzaminoiOctober 26 - November 17, 2013j

posted by ‚R at 20:54| Diary


Another code

I went to Shanghai for my solo exhibition the other day. Travel to a foreign country is really tough for me because I seldom travel. I was unable to speak not only Chinese but also English at all during the travel. In the foreign country, my English skill fell to lower than dog level. It was almost a mute.
Because I couldn't speak any languages at all, I could do nothing and could go nowhere by myself. All people who met me there were perplexed and treated me like a retard and I behaved like so. I was utterly disgusted with myself during my stay.

However, in fact, the feeling of alienation as a foreigner in a foreign country is not new to me. It is because I am always feeling the similar feeling in everyday life.

For example, it is a little bit hard for me to enter a shop which I have never entered before. When I have to eat out, I am in the habit of entering a familiar restaurant or a chain restaurant.
The reason why I seldom go to an unfamiliar restaurant is because I do not know the custom of the place. Of course I know that the custom in restaurants is not so different among the restaurants. However, I am apt to be afraid of a bit of mistake.
It does not become a serious matter even if I order in the wrong way at a restaurant. However, people (especially me) tend to be extremely afraid of behaving in a wrong way in an unfamiliar place.

It is result of the codes. Probably I am afraid of getting a wrong code.
There are a huge number of codes that you must obey in every situation in the modern society. We are afraid of mistaking them.
If you cannot understand this opinion, please think about a dress code. The fear that attends at the party in improper clothes may share anyone.

Why are we extremely afraid of mistaking a correct code? It is because that a person who misses the code is treated as a foreign body in that place. He will be the laughingstock and being left out, because the role of codes is to unite the membership of community by removing outsiders. We obey codes, because we fear becoming outsiders.

In other words an outsider is a person who does not understand the codes.
I have been considering myself as an outsider since when I was in high school. And I have been hating the codes since then.

Some might say that you should ask somebody if you do not understand the code. That is proper advice. However, asking a question to someone is difficult mission for the certain people like me. It is because we have to understand the advanced codes to do the communication with the language skillfully. It is the most often the case that somebody is found out that he is an outsider when he asks a question.

Of course it is a misunderstanding to think you to be safe if you do not talk.
All the things that are represented in this world are connected to the codes. You are categorized by all visible things, for example, clothes, hairstyle, looks, figure, gesture, habits, manner of speaking, belongings, property, family, friends and acquaintances, works, life style, etc. You can never escape from it.

It results from the fact that we can judge the value from only visible things in this world. Even if you have a splendid thought, it is the same as not existing unless you express it on any code.
Therefore the represented image of you is your substance in this world. It is the same as "you" do not exist in this world if you do not have any code for expressing "yourself". It is the reason that people who want to make themselves look better make efforts to learn the codes.

Then, what should the "outsider" who cannot master the codes like me do? If I only run about trying to escape from the codes for fear, I will be the same as dead in socially. It is similar to me in abroad.

More than that, I should shout with the different code from the things in this world. For me, the original meaning of Art is such a thing. It is "the another code".
However, Art today has become a code in this world. Therefore people who do not know the codes in Art are removed from there as an outsider. It seems ironical to me.
If Art was a thing that is defined with codes, it has no meaning for me. More important to me is being an outsider.
What I have to do is not learning the codes of the Art but resisting against being categorized with any codes.
I want to shout loudly with the another code which is completely different from anything. I want to derange the codes in this world with it.

It is the reason why I draw and it is a small revenge for the world from an outsider.

posted by ‚R at 10:31| Diary