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.
“Is what you see what I see?”
Waugh Office Productions is an