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ACTING OUT OF NOTHINGNESS


“Acting out of Nothingness” unites individual views through the lens of commonality: a shared interest in the everyday. Driven by ideas resonant to Japanese culture, the artworks explore and unearth hidden codes, which are often overlooked in an apparently systematic and homogenised society. Challenging new perceptions, the exhibition layers new rhythms of individuality over the measured cadence of the artists’ collective backgrounds. Exhibition dates: Special Frieze Opening: Artist Talk: Location:

12 September - 20 October 2012 19 – 20 October 2013 15 October 2013 Daiwa Foundation Japan House 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle London, NW1 4QP http://www.dajf.org.uk

About APT Institute APT Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2013 by the Artist Pension Trust® in response to the need among contemporary artists for global exposure and recognition of their artworks. Designed for curators, museums, and art organizations worldwide, Loans & Exhibitions facilitates loan requests and exhibition planning from the APT Collection; Art Concierge tailors art interactions between curators or other qualified art professionals and APT artists; and Global Connect arranges artist-in-residence programs, studios opportunities and artists networking exclusively for APT artists.

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ABOUT

Coinciding with the 2013 Frieze London Art Fair, “Acting out of Nothingness” displays artworks lent by APT Institute from the Artist Pension Trust® (APT) collection, the largest lending library of artworks by leading and emerging contemporary artists around the world.


According to Theodor Adorno, “it is part of morality not to be at home in one’s home.”1 Ian Bourland interprets this as a feeling of discomfort we feel within the world we have. Thus, we constantly investigate the present and work towards a “better future.”2 The artists exhibiting in “Acting out of Nothingness” have looked outward to the global community and the influences are reflected in their works. While we work to create a better future, “Acting out of Nothingness” encourages a life of mindfulness of the self within culture in which we exist.

FOREWORD

Featuring ITO Zon, MURAYAMA Goro, SASAKI Kanako, TANAKA Koki, TOMII Motohiro, WADA Masahiro, and YAGI Lyota, “Acting out of Nothingness” exhibits an array of art demonstrating the melding of tradition and innovation in Japanese culture. Acting out of Nothingness shows a seamless fusing of old and new within post-war Japan as the Asiatic sense of identity is examined and challenged.

Routine actions are raised to acts of artistic beauty in the exhibit’s artwork. “Acting out of Nothingness” elevates everyday objects and actions to an iconic status. What we describe as “doing nothing,” daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, or catching a train are captured and displayed as works of art. Mass urbanization has created a perception of homogeneity and a loss of the individual throughout Japanese culture. The artists in “Acting out of Nothingness” use their artwork to depict contemporary society. Within these works the individual exists on multiple planes. The “self” stands in conflict against the “other” in the present, past, and future. These are contrasted against the “collective self” of Japan. Using a wry sense of humour, the artists question their sense of self-identity in an attempt to justify their own existence and that of the society in which they dwell. Individuality as well as a global collective self is created within the artwork through the range of techniques used by the artists. The artists create their own self-identity using a range of subjects and media, thereby isolating themselves as individuals in the exhibit. Simultaneously the artists connect to the global viewer through the commonplace subject matter. In this way international viewers connect to the everyday tasks being portrayed.

1 2

Theodor W. Adorno. Minima Moralia: Reflections on a Damaged Life. London, New York: Radical Thinkers, 40. Ian Bourland. In Bruno Latour. We have Never Been Modern. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 10.

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The continuity with the past is seen in the use of nature as a background to the subject matter in the artwork. The wild scenery stands in contradistinction to the disciplined organization stereotyped by Zen gardens. Depicted without bridges or buildings, the absence of architecture imposes a sense of anonymity on the landscapes. Rather than specific traits within the scenes, the lack of identifiable landmarks allows a globalized feeling within the works. The acts depicted by the artists could take place in many different countries, emphasizing the global nature of the works on display. The subjects in the images impose a sense of civilization and urbanization on the natural world. The wilderness becomes the domain of mankind. Rather than vast expanses of land with small images of people, typical of traditional Japanese paintings, the scale has changed and the figures inhabit a larger portion of the image. This change demonstrates the fluctuating the relationship between society and nature in 21st century. “Acting out of Nothingness” ties together the search for self-identity with the search for a national collective identity. In the global environment, this search becomes more and more elusive and we become unhappy with our surroundings; unable to identify who we truly are due to cross-cultural interactions, we strive to create Bourland’s “better future.” On exhibit are the daily tasks and objects which fill our lives. These are elevated to pieces of beauty, encouraging us to appreciate every moment as we are surrounded by art. Life is made up of acts which we often described as “doing nothing;” however, we are constantly in motion, completing tasks and blending the global society together. Justin R. Merino, Director APT Institute

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FOREWORD

In addition to actions, “Acting out of Nothingness” challenges the viewers’ concept of “nothing.” Objects often considered “trivial” merge with innovative techniques. The objects are used in a subversive way to disrupt customs and rituals associated with traditional items such as pottery and chopsticks. Cultural stereotypes identifying the artwork as “Asian” are defied by features of the “other,” incorporated as the artists look to Western culture. Objects that surround the viewer, including pottery, fans, and billboards, are highlighted as aesthetic items creating the beauty and aesthetics of the world in which we exist. These everyday objects are generally considered insignificant or inconsequential to our existence.


(b.1971 Osaka, Japan) | Ito is best known for his use of embroideries in which he attempts to juxtapose and merge landscapes and wildlife with minimal use of lines and colors. Ito’s works include embroidered textiles, animation and three dimensional objects. Ito privileges media that were somewhat peripheral to much 20th-century artistic practice when embroidery and clay modelling were stigmatized as craft and not art. Represented by Taka Ishii Gallery and Konrad Fischer Gallery.

MURAYAMA Goro 村山悟郎

(b. 1983 Tokyo, Japan) | Murayama creates artworks through a unique and organic systematic process that cycles through four activities: weaving strings together, applying a ground, painting patterns upon it, and then viewing the results. This process repeats like a circuit, alternating between the making of the 'canvas' and the act of painting/drawing. He sees the relation between two as a kind of interpenetration, not just of materials but processes too. He has received multiple prizes in Japan including the Shiseido Art Egg Prize 2010. Represented by Aisho Miura Arts.

SASAKI Kanako 佐々木加奈子

(b.1976 Sendai, Japan) | Sasaki’s photography and cinematography are agents of performative suggestion. She uses the camera to interweave her imagination and the stories of others. Her background of living abroad as a child and studying journalism melded her interests in investigating and exploring historical events. Represented by Dina Mitrani Gallery and Gallery.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

ITO Zon 伊藤存

TANAKA Koki 田中功起

(b.1975 Tochigi, Japan) | Tanaka lives and works in Tokyo and in Los Angeles. The artist mainly produces video and installation, many of which are developed site-specifically. He often deals with everyday commodities and surroundings. In doing so, he lets the work entice them into a spontaneous aesthetic experience. In 2013, Tanaka represented Japan at the 55th Venice Biennale and received an honorable mention for his installations. Represented by AOYAMA | MEGURO, Tokyo and Vitamin Creative Space.

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(b. 1973 Niigata, Japan) | Tomii dwells on the debate on our beings and the act of making. He investigates ‘What is it to make?’, ‘Why we make?’, and ‘If we can find answers in making?’ Tomii is fascinated by objects and their inherent conditions such as size, shape, texture and material. The age long discourse on ‘what is art / artwork’ is something discussed very often in his work. ‘The quest for “a quality of incomprehensibleness” is also a common theme in his body of work. Represented by Yumiko Chiba Associates.

WADA Masahiro 和田昌宏

(b. 1977 Tokyo, Japan) | Wada observes the conditions of cultures or cultural symbols in particular domains that are taken for granted, conserved or secluded and intervenes into them through work that often encompasses performance, sculpture, installation or video. His work subverts pre-conceived notions of aesthetics and the commercialization of art, often through the use of humor and absurdity. Wada founded the art space ‘Homebase’ in Tokyo in 2001.

YAGI Lyota 八木良太

(b. 1980 Ehime, Japan) | Sound-based work is foremost amongst his wide repertoire of expression techniques, which expand to found object, video, installation and interactive art. In his works, Yagi takes up familiar items and reconsiders their functions such as cassette tapes, CDs and Vinyl records; by recompiling them he allows new meanings to surface. By reworking and re-envisioning the humble technology from the not so distant past, Yagi successfully creates ingenious translations of analogous phenomena across visual and aural media while conjuring nostalgic memories of a dying era. Represented by Mujin-to Production, Tokyo.

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PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

TOMII Motohiro 富井大裕


To the Head ''Good Bye'' from the Body Embroidery on fabric, wood frame 2008 80 X 105 cm

ITO ZON 伊藤存

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TANAKA KOKI 田中功起 Exchange One of Your Shoes With Someone / Open Every Drawer as Quickly as Possible Billboard Installation 2007

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System or Memories A

Oil, glue, bond, chalk, acrylic gesso and acrylic medium on knitted hemp string, chopsticks, staples 2010 140 x 125 cm

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MURAYAMA GORO 村山悟郎


As a leaf

Photograph with black wooden frame 2008 20 X 24 in

SASAKI KANAKO 佐々木加奈子

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Knot (Red) Rope 2008 1.5 X 2 cm

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TOMII MOTOHIRO 富井大裕


I Just Want to Say One Thing Before I Go Wood Sculpture 2008 38 x 21 cm

WADA MASAHIRO 和田昌宏

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Portamento

Porcelain clay, record, video (documenting pottery-making) 2006

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YAGI LYOTA 八木良太


CREDITS

ACTING OUT OF

NOTHINGNESS DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation: Keiko Koshihara, Curator APT Institute: Justin R. Merino, Director Exhibition produced in collaboration with: DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London Special thank you to: AOYAMA | MEGURO Japan Embassy of Japan in the UK Japan Information and Culture Center Frieze Art Fair Artworks courtesy of the artists and Artist Pension Trust Beijing About Artist Pension Trust (APT) With representative offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Leipzig, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mexico and Amman, Artist Pension Trust ® (APT) provides long-term financial security to select artists in 75 countries. APT’s diverse collection currently includes more than 10,000 artworks and is expanding by 2,000 artworks a year. APT serves 1,800 established artists, some of whom have won some of the art world’s most prestigious prizes, such as the Turner Prize and Le Meurice Contemporary Art Prize. About Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is a UK charity supporting links between Britain and Japan. It carries out its work through three main activities: awarding scholarships; giving grants to individuals and institutional partners to encourage UK-Japan collaboration; and organising a series of seminars, book launches and exhibitions at the Foundation’s headquarters in central London. The Foundation has provided substantial support for the arts in both countries since its inception, facilitating exhibitions, artist-in-residence schemes, tours, education programmes and the Daiwa Foundation Art Prize.

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www.aptinstitute.org

complimentary copy


Acting out of Nothingness, an exhibition by APT Institute and DAIWA Anglo-Japanese Foundation