“I paint on anything anywhere, especially in the everyday spaces that we don't notice ... like when I find growth between the cracks of concrete, hope and despair exist next to each other ... it is where a work of Art can find a breath for itself.”
Tamaki Kawaguchi is a painter and performer, who has turned the application of colour onto various surfaces into a spectacle. Masked in a translucent cubicle reminiscent of a scene from post apocalyptic cinema we are reminded that beyond the performance and spaces of Art there continues an irreversible erasure of biodiversity and the mechanics of creative culture colludes with this.
Tamaki Kawaguchi performed Painting Day By Day In The Anthropocene for the opening of Leaving Language. The installation was on view at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone England.
Wikipedia tells us that Erich von Däniken’s 1968 bestseller, Chariots Of The Gods, was partly ghost written by a professional author Utz Utermann. The ethnocentric tone has been noted for it's erosion of facts, something that precedes our contemporary malaise.
Subjects explored included hieroglyphs detailing myriad beasts and genetic mutations; supposed to have occurred millennias ago when the first alien space craft landed on Earth.
The paperback contained archaeological research and aerial photography that the author claimed these proved the hidden science of humanity and the missing link in civilisation's evolution. When truth is dead be ready for the prophets of fake news.
Under this meteor shower of false knowledge; Tamaki Kawaguchi paints insects specifically those that fly like moths and butterflies. Dressed to enter a post apocalyptic world her universe is observed from memory. Historically the Japanese respect for insects has held them in high regard, their tenacity for survival is revered as much as an exquisite form.
Sometimes kept as pets they are visited at insectariums such as: the Mino Park Museum in Osaka or Tamura's Mushi Mushi Land.
The Artist and her presence is filtered through the surfaces on which she paints the larger than life butterflies. Fading in and out of focus she presents an ephemeral gesture of resistance. In Folkestone this action was called Painting Day By Day In The Anthropocene.
Her life as a consumer is part of a forced cycle of biohazardous contamination. This is the reality she exists in and her performance is perhaps an attempt to disrupt the narcissism of consumption and question that much used phrase "social media".
At the back of a black Mercedes limousine the Artist said the work was a kind of refusal or even a challenge to a world of replicated stereotypes and endless materialism, becoming an anonymous activist that questions what purpose is culture providing.
Mio Shirai's telegenic tonalities mix fabricated landscape in narratives that make life's inevitable dramas seem easier ... if only just a teeny.
With an eloquence across a variety of mediums, including sculpture, film and textiles she is an experienced narrator of ideas. A gentle nudge at those fables that help us to get along in this out of step adult world.
Her Artwork allows a space for the objectivity of play and to remind us that every nation began as a story.
Mio Shirai showed Dream Of Teeny and Across The River at Leaving Language at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone England
Across The River is a large tapestry by Mio Shirai which retells a mythic tale of border crossings. On arrival in the gallery it was unfolded and tied with black ribbon then suspended from the ceiling. The Artist discussed how it functioned in dialogue with the Artworks around it.
The richness of the image was to be a scenic device that pulled everything together in it's multiple threads of embroidery.
A scaffolding was erected and the Artists helped to secure it's position. A colourful patchwork of shapes that captured ironically a classical landscape rendered in the off cuts of an upcycled contemporary moment. It initiated a series of routes through the space and acted as a centre of gravity for everything around it.
Across The River gently guided visitors with it's magical waters flowing between a mountainous landscape.
In Japan legendary spirits can gather on the banks of rivers and play havoc with those hoping to build stairways to Heaven. There was a distant and savage laughter cracking in the sky, who was rowing across the water? Maybe a boatman who had come to transport the dead and introduce them to a new language?
During the email correspondences refining the conceptual blocks of the exhibition, another work had come to the foreground that gently unpicked the patriarchal narratives of the Artworld.
Dream Of Teeny is a behind the scenes glimpse of the relationship between Marcel Duchamp and Teeny. In 1954 he married Alexina Sattler, Teeny's daughter later remembered: "My mother told me that at one point Henry Miller had a crush on her, but he was rather vulgar ... whereas Marcel had a very light touch."
This light fingered characteristic alas may have also extended to his Art. It is suggested that the women in his life were often robbed of their ideas and even pseudonyms, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, used R. Mutt as a name when she sent a urinal to Marcel Duchamp as a sculptural gift. He would later exhibit this work but forget to say that the signature was not what it had been before.
Three monochrome pillows were hung in the second chamber of the exhibition like Polaroids of a distant day in the countryside. Tied around a large Corithian column and a wall that divided the gallery, the viewer could stand close to these Artworks and wonder at the stories captured.
Kirico Tanikawa’s paintings are as evasive as evidence as with forensic photographs, they present a clues that refuse any obvious reason or purpose.
Casually objects wait and ask you to imagine what it all means, like a mood board of bits and pieces without script or conclusion. Vignettes in a baroque tableaux of the overlooked returned as an urbane reliquary familiar as it is dislocated.
Kirico Tanikawa exhibited her new work ４月２４日/24.April, plus 赤いライタ/Red Lighter, 雨あがり/After The Rain and 砂利道/Rough Road in Leaving Language at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone England.
The unique aspect of the Metropole Gallery was it's six metre high windows that looked across the English Channel to France. These also drew in light to allow razor sharp illumination of surfaces. Shadows and Sunshine fell across the paintings of Kirico Tanikawa.
They were like items from a modern Cinderella story that ominously lay in a Jigsaw puzzle of canvases. These iconic motifs were two pink shoes, a red lighter and a white decorated brassiere.
The images at first took your attention as they were recognisable and yet uncanny in that context. There was an uncomfortable frisson in the imagination: why had these possessions been left on a road?
Whilst perhaps thinking how a crime scene might be rendered or even a hint at erotic fantasy, the eye became entangled in the background. These grey coloured surfaces were filled with textures. However, they were principally images of empty spaces.
Of course nothing is ever empty, yet into this apparent nothingness emerged paintings as beautiful as a Summer's day. The gravel became small mountain ranges of crystal, it was like a microscopic cartography.
We must then also contemplate the hours spent rendering such details of Heavenly rapture or perhaps they were an exercise in oblivion?
Is this the kind of perspective one needs to transcend an indifferent world?
Her paintings are semiotic maps in which the stitching of a shoe or clear fluid in a plastic lighter can be no more revealing than the invisible noise of rain on tarmac.
These images are not what they seem but rather lead us towards another reading of surfaces. An enigma or code is commonly understood as something hidden in plain view and so it is with the pictures of Kirico Tanikawa.
An Artist invites interpretations in the plural rather than the singular questioning the frameworks of words and language.
Noe Aoki's sculptural forms weld together the pervasive semaphores,. Iron and steel shapes suggesting hashtags or particle atoms, multiplied in dense physical and structural forms.
A site of demolition repurposed as gardens of rusted stamens; her calligraphy of metallic forms leave coded messages across the landscapes in which her Artworks are located.
Noe Aoki created a site specific installation for Leaving Language called 繰り返/Kurikaesu/Iteration at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone England.
Archaeologists of the future will explore the earth through layered debris from rapidly buried epochs. As we contemplate post Internet Art become covered in the digital accumulations of our observations. The simple label: Iteration began to look convincing. It was a stable taxonomy in which language supports these things we call "Art" and us humans who experience them.
Mobile phones and computers emit electromagnetic radiation; a risk we face in order to gaze at the potential of information. There is an equation for Iron or the simple facts that it followed Bronze in the metallurgical evolution of civilisations. In Japan this period is called the Yayoi and dates between 300 BC - 300 AD.
Noe Aoki cuts into this enigmatic and ancient material, perhaps an anachronism in the era of 3D printing and laser sliced alloys. In her universe of circles and lines we can imagine our own history of geometry, calculations of Heaven and landscapes fused together.
Art is a weapon that helps create political maps that mutate and evolve after their authors are dead. Hammers, tongs, acetylene torches, these sound like they could make mischief with flesh but they are not as dangerous as the ideas extracted from those subterranean labyrinth of the mind.
From this void sparks fly and the clanging sound of mythology derange the senses. "What names do we have for Quail eggs and where can they be purchased?" How does it translate from Japanese to English?
(Having remembered there is a paragon and the question of the frame). The sublime objects rose in front of us; evoking pylons and electricity sparks from the nearby factory at Dungeness. How does nuclear power station produce energy … water, boiling, steam?
An email archive began with an idea of scented soap on a table, piled like standing stones and ended with an evocation of a forest: tortured lines clinging and clutching like the angled shadows from an expressionist film.
Black metal in an Art Nouveau gallery space is some heavy magnetism.
"The act of cutting is a constant exercise through which I organise and structure my random thoughts.The rhythm of the scissors, the fineness and the length of the paper strips correspond to the process of my thinking and it's effect on the body.
While essentially personal, Cut Papers is a necessary practice for me to formulate my relationship to the external world."
Sachiko Abe's work has explored regimes of subjectivity and cultural imposition, most explicitly with her continuing series of performance work.
In Cut Papers, she has created a surplus of material and meaning within an apparent simple aesthetic economy.
At the opening of Leaving Language Sachiko Abe performed Cut Papers and created a site specific installation for The Metropole Gallery in Folkestone England.
The edge of the page can be sharp enough to cut; metaphoricaly one set of words from another. Turning them carelessly while looking for a story, you might just find thoughts and fingers bleeding. An occasional injury encountered when the material reality of a word slices into your unprotected hands.
The works of Sachiko Abe titled, Cut Papers are durational and irrational. Created through repetition, that could be cutting an eternal revenge on the page and a story excluded from a white A4 sheet?
A grammatology might have choreographed phrases and letters but instead this exists outside the paper. For Sachiko Abe the work is in the vigil, a demonstration against words and calligraphy. We must assume that if she were a multiplicity, all the deposits of paper on Earth would be ravaged and returned to us as forms only written in the mind.
Sachiko Abe is cutting up performance history with an assault on the idea of series and the edition.
She is continuously making the unique sculptural material that is Cut Papers. This offers the question what is the role of her title, maybe it is an implosion into the abyss of mimesis?
Clearly her work is more than cutting papers, however it could be reduced to this. We are invited to look again and ask "what is this?". There is the production of white strands as thin as brushed hair and the amplified scissors to gnaw at the brain.
An immersive envelope of acoustic traces is caused by particles torn asunder with blades guided by the unconscious precision of a magician.
Her work organically grows around her, both psychologically and physically. The audience is the witness and participant in a seance of sorts, an uncanny encounter with a medium.
When American Artist Tom Friedman claimed to have hired a witch to curse the air above his plinth, this accounted for it's name Untitled (A Curse), we understand this provocation as both bringing magic and conceptual Art into collision or even collusion.
In our minds the borders between things are diffuse and fragile and always susceptible to manipulation.
Today's Facebook meme is tomorrow's rally and for Sachiko Abe the proximity of Art to madness could follow a line explored by Michel Foucault. He drew connections between the formation of a modern state and the regimes of ideological power in Europe that used religion as a weapon against women who occupied alternative spaces of knowledge.
In Japan shamanism is key to Shintoism and the Artist is drawing on her family history as practising shamans when she invites us to contemplate the invisible and the intangible in mountains made of paper.
During the opening of Leaving Language she performed for the first time in a black dress with her back to the Sun.
The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well was an exhibition that featured installation and screenings from artists Melanie King, Eric Lesdema, Sheena Rose, Jane and Louise Wilson and Semiconductor. The curator was Julia Waugh for Contemporary Arts And Spirits in Osaka and coordinated by Tamaki Kawaguchi.
Image : The Manpukuji Temple © Julia Waugh
The Manpuku-ji Temple was the host for an afternoon of film screening for The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well.
Image: The Astronaut © Sheena Rose
The Astronaut was an exploration of spacial and centric peripheries, with reference to Afro Futurism and the hopes of a 1960s and 70's Barbados.
Sheena Rose became a cosmic traveller who had just landed on Earth, in a 15 minute presentation where fractured speech and chaotic framing seemed to shudder with the force of an interplanetary rocket launch.
An artist who navigates intimacy through portraiture and it's transformation within modalities of communication. A Fulbright Scholar whose current media ascent can be measured with features in The New York Times and Vogue.
The Astronaut was live streamed via Periscope from Bridgetown for The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well at CAS Osaka.
Image: Ancient Light © Melanie King
To create these negatives, photons emitted from stars travel over millions of years through the void of space. The photon then travels through Earths’ atmosphere and through the camera lens, at which point the photon is physically absorbed by the silver halide crystals suspended in the film. When processed, the silver halide crystals turn black as they come into contact with developer and fixer. These negatives are as precious as a meteorite or fossil, as their material structure is formed by the passage of incomprehensible periods of time
An artist whose principal subject is photography and the cultural connections of materials and phenomena existing beyond Earth’s atmosphere; her PhD research at The RCA in London is on “Astronomy Ecology”. A director of Lumen Studios and Super Collider organisations that hosts exhibitions and residencies.
Ancient Light was exhibited at CAS Osaka in The Astrologer Who Fell Into A Well.