Monday, 7 March 2011

New Exhibition

Kaza Ana 風穴 is the newest exhibition of contemporary art at The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

Haegue Yang, Seoul Guts, 2010
Photograph by Kim Sang-tae
Courtesy of Kukje Gallery Seoul

The National Museum of Art, Osaka, presents the exhibition Kaza Ana / Air Hole – Another Form of Conceptualism from Asia, 8 March – 5 June 2011, curated by Azusa Hashimoto, and the works of:

Haegue YANG (Berlin, Germany & Seoul, Republic of Korea)
Yuki KIMURA (Kyoto, Japan)
QIU Zhijie (Beijing, Republic of China)
Shimabuku (Berlin, Germany)
Contact Gonzo (Osaka, Japan)
The Play (Kansai area, Japan)
Dinh Q. LE (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
Araya RASDJARMREARNSOOK (Chiangmai, Thailand)
Fumio TACHIBANA (Tokyo & Hiroshima, Japan)

Special events:

8 March 2011 at 17.00 – Artists’ Talk: Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Qiu Zhijie
12 March 2011 at 14.00 – Dialogue: The Play, Shimabuku
19 March 2011 at 14.00 – Contemporary Artists’ Talk: Yuki Kimura, Ei Arakawa, Takeki Maeda
23 April 2011 at 14.00 – Gallery Talk
29 April 2011 14.00-17.00 – Raft-building techniques: The Play
1 May 2011 14.00-17.00 – Raft-building techniques: The Play
3 May 2011 14.00-16.00 – Raft-building techniques: The Play
21 May 2011 at 14.00 – Gallery Talk & Performance: Contact Gonzo


Exhibition Review: Kaza Ana / Air Hole – Another Form of Conceptualism from Asia
8 March – 5 June 2011
@ The National Museum of Art, Osaka

Kaza Ana Exhibition Review Copyright © 2011 The Bosa Bosa Review  - All Rights Reserved  -    


Haegue YANG’s works open the exhibition. “Seoul Guts” (2010)  is a group of six light sculptures mounted on metal structures with little wheels, filled with objects of domestic use (cleaning sponge, cleaning brush, feather duster, massagers, plastic fruit, pill box, light bulbs, cables). This group follows the “Series of Vulnerable Arrangements – Domestics of Community” (2009) shown at the Biennale di Venezia, installation showing in a similar way the colourfulness of a few ordinary objects hanging down (blinds, metal structures, light bulbs, cables, spotlights), looking glamorous as if ready for a parade. The common point, namely light bulbs and cables takes us back to her rather different in concept “Remote Room” 2007 exhibition in Berlin, where no domestic objects were hanging, only white bulbs both on and off were draped from white or black cables upon rolling display hangers. There, the “community” and its domestics were not the subject of the work, on the contrary, the individual vis-à-vis community, the individual versus the Other, made the subject of a black and white space with no colours, immaculate and obscure, ambiguous, dual, remote and caught in between two opposite values. Her exhibits at NMAO though, show a change in concept, from black and white to colours, from remoteness and solitude to unnoticed details in everyday life, from a “community of absence” to a “community of presence”, from the “other” to the “everyone”.

QIU Zhijie has prepared two works “Standard” (1996/2011) and “Diploma No.5” (2011) for this exhibition. A white screen cuts the exhibition room right in the middle, and the projection reveals only shadows. Shadows of Chinese characters flying over the Nanjing Yangze River Bridge, symbol of rapid modernization in China accompanied by the rate in suicides the bridge helped increase, shadows of ambitious words in both Chinese and English translations, shadows of Communist symbols of the Republic of China, the star and the flag to be found on award certificates conferred on high-achieving students. Qiu Zhijie is a very energetic artist, who, while working on his Nanjing Project, took part in rescuing people attempting suicide from the Nanjing Yangze Bridge, talking to them, rebuilding through documents the archaeology of their fears, creating a website with open accounts for donations to help the suicidal people to continue living. He is outspoken in his criticism of conceptual art as a worship of boredom and extremely sensitive towards “reality consciousness” and “consciousness of the future”, consciousness referring to a present and future with few alternative possibilities for many people who end up being trapped in a paradigm of fear, degeneration and self-destruction.

Dinh Q. LE is fascinated with contemporary artistic signs already present, unconsciously, in the ordinary people’s everyday struggle to survive. He notices the creativity that goes with survival, and brings details from people’s lives to the exhibition room (bicycles, mirrors, metal, tires, plastic buckets, water pumps), the only place, perhaps, where other people too would pay attention and appreciate. He has chosen to be less political on this occasion, his previous works showing a strong emphasis on issues concerning the Vietnam War and farmers learning how to build a helicopter, even though a negative symbol in their memories of war and war machines, or the post-WW2 Japanese generation of farmers involved in the peace movement against the Hyakuri air base of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. With a genuine, effortless smile, Dinh Q. Le is actively engaged in supporting local Vietnamese artists debut on the international contemporary art stage.

Araya RASDJARMREARNSOOK exhibits the “Two Planets Series” (2008), consisting of four video works where the reactions of Thai villagers from Chiang Mai, gathered in a natural spot, next to a forest or a paddy, towards 19th century French paintings, are being recorded on camera. A bearded character in Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass is thought by one villager to be Bin Laden, and so the conversation between villagers gets extremely funny. These works are of an uncomplicated humour, show nothing more than a conversation between Thai farmers in front of a painting reproduction, and emphasise a need to relax and enjoy art against unnecessary academic conventions, against that specific dryness of expressivity expert knowledge is sadly responsible of. Araya’s previous works dealt with loss, violence, the yearning for the past and the condition of women.

While Yuki KIMURA’s installations of vertical and horizontal photos and objects (plants, stones) try to challenge the idea of “space” provided by museums and galleries for the exhibiting of artworks, Fumio TACHIBANA’s ink and thin strip are challenging the paper itself, in an era when letters are typed on computer keyboards and paper goes to garbage unsmelt, unnoticed. After the cucumber journey in England and the octopus trip in Tokyo, Shimabuku brought a tortoise to NMAO, to be watched and played with. Wishful thinking cannot be but a euphemism, for the tortoise is desperately attempting to escape the exhibition space, on a daily basis. On its 43rd anniversary, The Play, a group of artists formed in Kansai in 1967, exhibit the raft used to travel down a river from Kyoto to Osaka, project known as “Current of Contemporary Art” (1969), and which basically characterised their need for freedom, for the freedom to defy museum spaces and the need to live outdoors and enjoy life with the others. Contact Gonzo, a group of young artists from Osaka, are exhibiting mostly new works, where quick sound, slow movement, martial art ‘contact’ and playfulness are mixed with the sharp visuality of poverty with carton-boxes, communal tents and shopping trolleys replacing the image and warmth of a home and its belongings. In the aftermath of the 11 March 2011 disaster in Tohoku, contact Gonzo have met the reality of a great number of people left without homes and decided to sell some of their works and donate the money. Their gesture is worthy of admiration and will surely be appreciated by a sensitive consciousness of the present.

Shakai to no kankei wo shikakuka suru kokoromi
(Visualising Our Humanity)
- Kaza Ana Exhibition published review  -
by The Bosa Bosa Review, in Osaka Nichinichishinbun Daily Newspaper, 3 May 2011, p. 9

 - All Rights Reserved  -  

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