Make A WorldEri Otomo
Is the world as I see now exactly the same as the one that other people see? Is it one and only one thing?
In psychology, there is a word “mental reality,” and it implies the real world that is recognized based on each individual’s subjective view. Depending on how one perceives the situation, it is possible that the same fact is felt as totally different realities. In other words, it means that one’s mind can change the perception of the world. The nature of the world is a mirror that reflects our minds. The world that is supposed to be the only reality gets connected to each individual’s mind and spreads in front of each of us as a different reality.
For a long time, I have given thought to unraveling this proposition of this “reality within the brain” as the theme of this exhibition. Where does reality come from? While creating this exhibition, I was setting out for one goal, although there were two dimensions to it, which were somewhat polarized. Presumably, it was split into two aspects: 'World' and 'How to make.' The former can be translated as 'Real' and the latter 'Fiction/ Artificial / Creativity.' As expected, on the printing surface too, these two words seem rather disconnected. Initially, I had consolidated the proposition into two words, and given this exhibition an odd title, “Imaginary Reality,” but I changed it half way through to “Make a World.” I titled it so in the hope of suggesting the world created by the works of artists, and at the same time, reaching toward each and everyone who is not an artist.
The following paragraph, in which I depict the creative act of an artist, is another key factor of this exhibition.
An artist takes hold on ‘the World.’ Not necessarily things that can only be seen, but also things that exist inside and not outside, things that exist outside, and a gap and a sense of discomfort that arise between inside and outside. Scenery that spreads inside of you. An impulse to want to reveal what it is. A resolution of one’s uneasiness. Discuss the murky, unclear feeling, organize it, and give it form. Use imagination to look for what is not seen, struggle to discover a clue for something that is not there, see in the mind’s eye, reach, and accomplish. Choose hundreds of moments that appear before one’s eyes and keep connecting them.
I was having a difficulty and was distressed about how to connect the two paragraphs in italics. Ultimately, I chose this proposition because I thought that it was an important point concerning art and creativity, and there was no inconsistency with the installation and discussion with the artists. Rather, ideas and visions started to get shared at an accelerated rate. Art and art works are there first. The answer lied in the words of artists. The source of reality lied in the intensity of imagination. There is no other way to say it but that I was not able to see the answer that was laid right in front of me.
Let me quote from an email from one of the participating artists, Nayakama (after discussing the ‘the Site of Memory’ by Toni Morrison).
“Using imagination or struggling to find ‘the site of memory’ is a clue for something. Finally, it reaches its destination, accomplishing its goals. This whole process of desperate seeking is what overlaps with art. Also, whether it can take the reader or the viewer to the realistic situation of somehow having to look for what is invisible, through the use of imagination is the point where it can turn into a work of art. It might be the strength of history or tradition, or the strength of what does not happen in daily life, or the strength of leading the audiences to understand the works easily... I think there are many ways to do this.”
“The same goes for Toni Morrison, but in the email that we exchanged earlier, Tomita wrote about himself who appears in each and every single moment… I think that the World is created by fully using imagination to imagine what is not here, by feeling the reality of being here now (not just the vague reality), and by seeing and confirming it in person.”
I would like to introduce the three participating artists here.
Gaku Tsutaja has been making a kind of artwork that opens up the world against the reality that she lives in, through the use of various mediums such as video arts, paintings, and installations. In recent years, she has been working on cartoon work that gets updated on her website once a day, based on the theme that most moves her emotions. Through the eyes of fine art, this could be seen as a sequence of drawings with a story, though her work is not entrenched by the general format of cartoons but rather, is done with her own unique style. For example, one work that was developed daily through a format of four-panel comic strips suddenly gets cut open with a drawing of a pair of scissors into three-dimensionality, and the screen changes freely as it starts to open or rotate. There, she pursues the way one evolves through accepting changes in daily life, the feeling of the moving pictures and the screens, as well as the ability to exceed the imagination of the viewers. It's not a comic nor a video art, nor a painting. To put it in one way, it could be recognized as a series of transformable sculptures that can be read and felt. She releases her work one page a day, occasionally attempting to develop the story according to the reactions of the readers or to the movement of her mind. The most recent works, “It was an epoch never to be forgotten in my life,” are painted with colors close to primary colors with a controlled portrayal that is focused on how much higher one can heighten one's feelings.
In the exhibition, Tsutaja will layout a storybook world through exhibiting sculptures that she had transformed from her drawings after rethinking both her and the viewers’ emotions toward the drawings and the stories behind them.
The core of the works by Toshiaki Tomita is to explore the mind's world by deliberately capturing and analyzing the conscious and unconscious phenomena that are evoked within himself. He carefully traces and develops the images that have emerged through his dreams or conversations with others by using various methods such as psychoanalysis, fieldwork, dialogue and workshopping in his unique interpretation. His work reaches completion when he sees the consequence of the work. The meaning of the image becomes clear, and the path that it followed takes on a story, becoming the work.
“Heart Mountain (2010)” started out in an art high school in Denmark in 2002. After Tomita gave a speech about a pilgrimage he made in the summer of 2000, one of the participants became inspired and made a painting. In the following decade, Tomita and the painter met again several times and the story was forgotten, recalled, and renewed, and the unexpected enigma of the painting was revealed. Words and images get accumulated, bound up with memories and the subconscious awareness that lies deeply within each of them, which in turn continues into a new story. The story would spread infinitely from the viewer to others, without the artist being fully aware. At this moment, Tomita has been working on an image he saw in his dream. In this exhibition, as a part of tracing the image back, he will submit an approach related to food, sense of taste and tactile sense.
From Kazuya Nakayama’s works, I receive an impression that they are playing funny tricks on people. “Funny tricks” here means the surprise one receives from unexpected timing, curiosity and humor. I cannot help but imagine the existence of people who get tricked by them, and their reactions. Or, as it is referred to as “Kazuya Nakayama Case,” his works give viewers an experience such as normal daily life showing a slightly different view than usual, which slowly gets back to a normal state. He often sets up his works right before the opening of the show. Instead of preparing his works beforehand, his works are often stocked somewhere inside or around the exhibition space, or often they are just about something that happens in this space. He takes notice on what is happening now, and imposes the rule on himself to make artwork through how he is feeling at the exhibition space. It is the same for this exhibition, so, at this moment that I am writing this, nobody knows what he is going to do. I am going to wonder until the opening day what is going to happen by looking at both this exhibition space and the “cases” from the past.
At last, our ‘world’ takes shape in the “Transform catalogue” that this text is published in and in the exhibition held at a small, old building in Yokohama. The three ‘worlds’ exist in parallel, being independent yet coming together and overlapping in one place. Imagination becomes creation, and things submerged down deep start to appear and take on shapes. This ‘World’ is not a completed thing or place. It constantly and continuously keeps emerging in front of you. This ‘World’ is continually reborn.
[Curator of the exhibition]
Translation : Kanako Matsumoto / Jethro Rice