Solo Exhibition misho – unknown things
30 Jan. – 28 Feb. 2021
BLOCKHOUSE, Tokyo, Japan
In 2020 we were hit by COVID-19, and it became a year when lifestyle changes were forced upon us, from our working patterns to our proximity to others. As Europe began to lock down in March, I hurried back to Japan, and there at home in Aminochō, Kyōtango, every day I would watch the ever-shifting sea and sky. I had been constantly busy for a few years and then, suddenly, I found that I hadn’t set foot outside the Tango Peninsula for months. I spent my days training my body under the dazzling summer sun or while staring at the sea at dusk. With the endless sea and sky spread out before me, I started to wonder at the smallness of my existence and thoughts. I have come to experience the truth that the world is shaped both by humans and other life, but also by inanimate objects and everything that has not yet been understood or discovered. It seems that there are hundreds of thousands of viruses that we know nothing of: we truly live our lives, surrounded by unknown things.
ALL photo by KABO
Gradation (2020, video 1.52 min)
On November 8, 2017, “Space in the Sun”* was demolished and I was there as it came down. It was shocking to witness, and after returning home I made five drawings to try to calm my mind. I believe that something may have broken inside me that day and its pain lingered on. In May 2020 when we were urged to stay at home to prevent COVID-19, my mind was suddenly flooded with images of the demolition three years before. I could hardly breath, my sight grew dim, and I couldn’t stop my tears. I took out the drawings from their box and looked at them for the first time in a long time and I felt some relief. My body knew that I would be healed by the passage of time so it waited until I could endure the pain. After the original five, I made another 36 drawings with the title “Like rags”. I set them aside but in 2020 they blossomed into a work for video.
* “Space in the Sun” was a project that Akio Suzuki performed at the meridian on Mt. Takaten in Amino, Kyōtango. In order to create a space where he could purify his ears over for twenty-four hours on the autumnal equinox day in 1988, Suzuki and his team built a pair of opposing walls and a flat floor. The structure was 3.5m in height and 17.38m long, and it was built from sun-dried bricks. Over the years after the event, the structure slowly weathered but then, one day, a cow from a nearby farm fell into a depression by the wall and died and the decision was taken to demolish it for safety purposes.
With the cooperation of Yūko Kawaguchi.
rhythmssssss #1 – #4 (2020 / screen printing）
I started creating monochrome drawings in the winter of 2020 and sent some photos to Hong Kong-based curator and writer, Yang Yang. She sent me back a quick reply where she wrote about feeling a kind of rhythm in them and referred to them as “rhythmssssss”. That gave me the courage to continue drawing rhythmically, and I was still drawing while I was in residence in Austria in March, a stay that was interrupted by the pandemic when I had to rush back to Japan. As many planned events were cancelled or postponed, I continued to draw in my home atelier, eventually producing more than 300 drawings. I chose four of them to create prints of. “rhythmssssss #2” appears on the sleeve of Akio Suzuki’s LP “Zeitstudie”, released by the Australian label Room 40 in 2020.
With the cooperation of Yūko Kawaguchi and Akio Suzuki.
misho (2020 / driftwood, concrete, essential oil）
A friend told me about her father who has only a few months to live. I didn’t know how to comfort her, so I talked to another friend who works as a hospice volunteer and is also a pharmacist with a deep knowledge of medicinal botanicals. I learned a lot about healing the mind and body with aroma and essential oils. Scent reaches the brain faster than pain and so is sometimes used to relieve pain. When your brain senses a good smell, neurotransmitters such as the stress relieving serotonin and pain relief endorphins are released, which make you feel good and reduce pain. I also learned that the limbic system of the brain, the areas activated by scent, is part of our primitive brain and is able to create a scent map that allows babies to find their mother’s breast and enables us to recognize the scent of predators
I think that the drawings and objects I have created are an extension of my dance and possess a sense of “unknown things that yet definitely exist”. Similarly, in this piece I have used scent for the first time. Scent is also something that can be sensed and which works on our deepest instincts but which does not exist as a thing. In our current situation, where we are struggling with an unknown virus, I want to remain aware of “things we cannot understand, cannot grasp, cannot see or touch but whose presence we can sense.”
With the cooperation of Hiromi Hoshide.