Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another layer for another Dimention

On the second last day of the project, there was a relatively big change in the content. The collaboration between the local silkscreen workshop, CLEAR GRAPHIC, and myself finally came into the shape.
Mr. Matsumura, the director of the workshop, pushed the project further to present the visual dialogue between each artist's works. It was organically developed, found and extracted, and linked poetically by my translation and mediation. This was only possible because of the length of 5 weeks' progress, and the encouragement by Mr. Matsumra.
He kindly shared his skill and interest. He says, "as a printer, I found most interesting when I understand the intention and essence of work, and I can emphasis the concept and let it stay firmly as a print work." Through his network, he printed works by various ways of printing and kinds of papers.
(top lef: Gaku, silkscreen print on cut out yellow paper / top right: Thea, digital print of a still image from her video work on paper & silkscreen print on film / bottom left: Elizabeth, laser print on tracing paper /bottom right: Utako, edited b&w image digital printed & colored area silk screened)

Skype Artists Talk & Closing Party

Quite a few people gathered for the artist talks and the closing party. Firstly let me express my appreciation for those who made their way to the physical space, the gallery, which got very hot! due to the weather against the floor cooling system, and the energy which people brought into. The artists joined the talks through skype, Thea from 11am Berlin, Elizabeth from 8pm Melbourne and Gaku from 6am New York. Thank you for the artists to be part of the night, it was wonderful to have your presence finally in the space, almost! and Also thank Youkobo to let me hold this project and the opportunity to meet and connect people through the project. Here are summery of each artist's talk.
Thea: After leaving university and moving places to live, my continuing art practice became in doubt. But this project allowed me to practice being artist while living my everyday life of having to work for survival. Post card and video postcard were the format i chose for the project in order capture what I see in between time of my everyday routine. I did not too concern about the relationship between what I do with each postcard. It was more important to pay attentions to each association that I made with each motif and encounters.
Elizabeth: Seisho Nagon wrote a lot her visual observation of everyday, and paid attention to human relationships in her writings. What she wrote about ordinary things from everyday have been lasting for long time, over hundreds years, while political history might have faded. That is wonderful.Translation between different cultures, different disciplines are very important as people are less and less facing with others, due to the division and categorization. Artists, who make artworks to communicate, are great translator and communicators, so it is important that artists join a project like this.
Gaku: It was natural to join the project as I have been presenting my artwork on my website daily, while I concern about the format of exhibiting in gallery - the idea lasts since before the Internet era. I gave sculptural shape to the weekly art manga, to be downloaded,  printed cut and construct. I find this process most exciting  so I wanted to people to also experience it. No problem that the outcome will different by each person from how I do. Most important as an artist to me now is the moment when I am making artwork, facing with the making. It is my question now, what I can leave, through those actions. 
Utako: In my work, there are always the question of belonging-ness. After long years of not belonging anywhere firmly, I moved in the place with people that I feel belong to. I took views outside of my studio window repeatedly as if I make my belonging stronger. I also trace the shadow of things inside of room with repetitive drawing movements to register my being in the space by referring to the shadow which does not have an physical existence. Also to visualize and introduce my invisible connections with other artists across the world in the context of youkobo was very important to achieve at this moment.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Gazes and Voices 5

There was an opening party up-stairs, for Austrian artists who returned to Youkobo after 10 years of their first residency. Youkobo residency's beauty is, I think, about being in residential neighborhood. The idea of living everyday partly came from its locational specificity and its philosophy of being a place for artist's residing. I very much enjoy when the local residence visit youkobo as if art is a part of their everyday. Tonight, the two frequent visitors (sometime voluntary work for us) came in with their friend. Their professions are design and cultural policy, and hearing their thinking and feeling towards art are inspiring. It seem that art is wanted by people more or less....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Critique Session

Today, there was a critique session held at Youkobo Artist Space. The idea of the session was introduced youkobo last year to create a situation where gallery artists and residency artists can have in depth critical dialogues about each others' works, with the support of Youkobo Staff member who can mediate, facilitate and translate the content. 

For this evening session, the current residency artists from Austria, Chile, Youkobo directors, staff members, also a special visitor from Melbourne gathered. After giving my brief explanation about the project and each artist's works, the critical discussion was focused on the relationship between myself and other artists.

The dialogue between artists without having my mediation did not grow as much I wished at the beginning of the project. Every participant was busy enough to produce works every week for the project. The importance was more for me to find the artistic commonality between artists and connect it through the presentation of works in progress in the art space and blog space. How I did it was in a way the representation of my concern.  The local silk screen printer helped me to visualize the relationship through composing a set of printmaking work (to be completed for the closing party this Saturday.) 

It was interesting to hear that the installation of works even start to look similar. This project was for me to set a platform where the act of working everyday can be explored more visually, as an artist, and also someone who work for the art organization. I felt that I need to re-think and re-evaluate the models of presenting artworks from artist studio to the outside world via mediation of gallery space, through the initiative of artist. In other word, I probably wanted to think about the uniqueness of artist's curation in relation to other types of project and exhibitions organized and curated by non-artists.

Lastly, one of participant, Christof, who has been witnessing the work in progress for the last 5 weeks noticed something that I did not know about my work. It was about my strong personal theme, the idea of home. This answers some of the questions, too. I might have been simply wanted to be a host to my familiar neighborhood, Youkobo Art Space, in my neighborhood. For the last 9 years, I could not have a sense of belonging to place or community deeply. but now I am understanding slowly how and where... The place where  likely I can grow greens without afraid of leaving this land next year.

The participants chatting after the session.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gazes and Voices 4

Though it is Wednesday, in a middle of weekdays, a few people visited to the project. Interestingly everyone was a woman, then I first time paid attention to the fact that the exhibitors are also all woman. I did not intend to become so, and don't have motive to talk anything about being woman from feminism point of view and such. If I have some thought in my mind in relation to art, I sometime remember what the poet, Rilke wrote in his letter to a young woman. (here I quote in Japanese, till I find the good translation in English...)
If the text refers nature to describe about the ideal state for woman, I relate this text as an artist. The artistic activities of either making or looking at art gives a space and time to be in such a place for returning and being completed circle of being oneself.

Thank you for today's visitors: Afriend since my elementary school, now as a mother who continues to work for woman's cosmetic. A lady who lives in the area and likes going around galleries, spent time at the gallery and the lounge space. An artist whose artwork and perspectives resonate with me as probably she also belongs to some between space. Friends from art industry, who supported me to realize a large project last year, are very special as they can professionally help artists' making process so well.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gazes and Voices 3

Sunday afternoon, people came on the bicycle, by car, by bus and by walk. Questions were asked about the project, title, status of exhibition, concept of the project and so on. Different artists, different art viewers interpreted the project in various ways and expressed their feelings and expectations.

Discussions arised mostly in relation to the meaning of the word, 'exhibition' and 'work in progress', and 'studio practice'. It was questions, how to convey the sense of progress in an exhibition format which implies somewhat finalized work of art? Then another thought came into my mind. Has the concept of this particular project actually never end to be 'completed' work of art? The basic idea of accumulating an everyday making and process should be carried over as long as you live your life everyday?

The graphic designer, who was visiting youkobo for another meeting, said that he also tends to keep working on and on. If there is no such thing called 'deadline', he would not stop. Deadline is like an architecture, structure which decide the duration of time you are inside. Maybe an exhibition is a deadline for artists, to structure their times to make and show works. In the case of the project, I think we might have not needed to have an exhibition, as the core concept, 'making works everyday' would not have an end. Or, the exhibition is not about showing finished artwork, but presenting the status of artwork being produced everyday. It is bit like a live performance piece. Audiences witness the moment of artwork being generated.

Akira Mori who did a project early this year at youkobo came in with his collaboration partner. He also makes a work in combination with concept, object and performance. I was thinking maybe the aspect of work-in-progress has a performative element to the whole project. Artworks moves across continents and across days&weeks. Visitors to the project also shift and change the project slightly, as often their observations and feed-backs give a new perspective to the project.

It was great to see Akira enjoying the various art languages in the gallery. Thea's postcard piece which resonates with her video postcard and Gaku's weekly Manga stays on-line to be downloaded. They point out clearly the relationship between physically being there and not. It was also Mori's project's 'All day 23 wards' theme where things happened outside of gallery and gallery became a container for the conceptual drawing and.