Vol.25  "CYCLE(S)"

Date 2013.10.24 16:00~17:30
Exhibition Title (dates) :  "CYCLE(S)"
Participants (titles omitted):
Suzanne Mooney, Arnaud Gallizia (Youkobo residence artist from France, residence 1),  Kuniyo Motoe (professor, Tama University of Arts), Tatsuhiko & Hiroko Murata (Youkobo directors), Mika Harigai & Jaime Humphreys (staff), etc.
Moderator: Jaime Humphreys
Documentary: Mika Harigai, Jaime Humphreys

Arnaud: I'm very interested in Michel Pastoureau's research on the color black. This work relates to his writings about the colour black and its historical relation to fecundity, and to places where people would go for meditation or worship. I would have liked to cover the whole wall with the same surface but this wasn't feasible logistically.
I'm also very interested in the idea of fragility, that a work will continue to change and eventually disintegrate during the exhibition; drawings which destroy themselves.

Kuniyo Motoe: How would you feel then if you were to sign a work, show it in a gallery using the same process where it would disappear during the exhibition?

Arnaud: This is certainly something I must consider. I am already considering using photos or video in order to record the process of change.

Suzanne: Can you say something about your reasons for including a white frame on the paper in these works while in contrast completely covering the paper in this series?

Arnaud: These works with the white frames I consider to be "drawings". They were taped to a board hence the white frame, and to me they are not so interesting anymore only the result of a process. This series where you can see bluish and green tinges were exposed to the elements for a period of time.

Suzanne: How did you decide the timing for bringing these works back inside? Indeed, why did you choose to show them inside rather than outside?

Arnaud: The timing is a difficult thing to decide, something I am still giving a lot of consideration. I guess what is important is to show different stages of the process of the paper's evolution. If they are left outside too long then they end up just like this work here where all the ash and charcoal has been washed away.

Visitor: Did you consider the type of paper used?

Arnaud: Yes. Initially, I had wanted to make my own large-sized paper but that would have required large water tanks and equipment. Instead, I experimented with pulp on different kinds of washi paper.

Tatsuhiko: During your two months in Japan, you have experimented with many different materials. Did any of them leave a particularly strong impression on you?

Arnaud: Back home in France, I am already familiar with most woods which can be obtained, but in Japan I came across many woods not used before. It was very interesting to see how the qualities of the wood led to variations in the hue of black by the charcoal. I also used pulp for the first time.

Jaime: You mentioned that these works are simply the result of an ongoing process, and that some are no longer "alive" for you. In Working in such a hands on way with these materials, what would the ideal situation be for you? Would it be to show the audience an ongoing process of change which never stands still?

Arnaud: Yes, that would be the ideal situation. Work that is in a constant and visible process of evolution.


Vol25 「On Foreign Ground」

Date 2013.10.24  1600~17:30
Exhibition Titledates):"On Foreign Ground"(2013.10.16-27)
ArtistSuzanne Mooney
ParticipantsArtists,Armaud Gallizia (Youkobo residence artist from France,Residence 1)Kunio Motoe(pfofessor,Tma university of Arts), Hiroko Murata&Tatsuhiko Murata, (Youkobo direcors),Mika harigai&Jaime Humphreys (staff),etc.
ModeratorJaime Humphreys
DocumentationMika Harigai&
Jaime Humphreys
Suzanne: The work shown here is related to previous work I made. I will say a few words here about the process of making the work itself. I am trying out a new idea here for the first time. I started out last year with the intention of exhibiting drawings, but moved away from my original plans to show this series of photographs and digital images.  The landscape you see in the photos is a place I first visited when I was 14/15 years old. I'm interested in our relationship with the landscape, how humans separate nature from what is man-made. After living here in Tokyo for more than four years, I started to think about the Irish landscape again, but with a new perspective, and I re-visited this location in the North of Ireland again in February of this year. The natural formations seen here and their geometric appearance reminded me strongly of cityscape such as Tokyo. It is this connection that I wanted to make here.
Arnaud: Can you talk about this work (digital photo)? It is the only one in the series I don't quite understand.

Suzanne: With the other photos, I was interested in how viewers perceive this landscape. Historically, these natural formations have caused people to associate them with something man-made, when they are not. With this digital image, I was interested in seeing how a photo created by my own hand would be seen in relation to these landscape images. All the stone shapes and surfaces originate from the photo studies on the wall opposite. As you can see, the stone in the center has a slightly more regular shape while the other stones were manipulated to fit around it. Due to the selection of paper, the image appears to be natural like the other photos in the series. 

Arnaud: I'm interested to see what direction this work will take from now.

Suzanne: This is certainly a work I will be exploring in the future. In my next work, I intend to make a comparative study of the view seen from the top of Sky Tree with that seen from the top of Mt. Fuji, exploring the motivations people have for climbing both and our sense of connection with the landscape.
Tatsuhiko: Have you ever considered showing just close-ups of the rocks themselves rather than more panoramic shots?

Suzanne: Yes, I did give that consideration but I felt it important to give a context to the place shown here, and explore the human connection with it, hence this photo in which I appear in the distance.
Hiroko: The landscape you have chosen for these works has a very strong impact in and of itself. How did you overcome the difficulty of showing it as your own work in the context of the Youkobo gallery?

Suzanne: This is a very difficult problem, something I am still trying to resolve. This is part of the reason that I decided to include the individual basalt column studies in this exhibition, and why I started to explore ways of creating a new landscape through the digital image. 

participant: This digital photo is particularly interesting. There seem to be many avenues for exploration.


Vol24 「City Dwellers:Urbanites of Tokyo PJ6581 Part3」「Fading in」

Date 2013.9.22   1600 
Exhibition Titledates):"City DwellersUrbanites of Tokyo PJ6581 Part3"(2013.9.18-22)
ArtistsAde Putra Safe & Khairullah Rahim
Exhibition Titledates): "Fading in” (2013.9.7-29)
Artist Dai Hijikata
ParticipantsArtists, Hiroko Murata, Tatsuhiko Murata, Yuri Kabata, Aya Murakami, Kaoru Murakami, Satoshi Ikeda
ModeratorJaime Humphreys
Documentation Yuri Kabata, Mika Harigai

KhaiConcept Outline
I attempt to visually reflect gay culture through my work. During my residency I have attempted to research certain hubs of the gay community such as Shinjuku 2-chome and Wadahori Park. I thought in Japan there was a greater understanding towards homosexuality than in Singapore but I find that in Tokyo its seems to be a hidden presence. There seems to be a stigma towards people who are gay, so there is a difficulty to express oneself directly.
ParticipantWhy did you select this kind of monster to appear in your work?
KhaiI used to watch all those monsters on TV when I was a child and so I selected the most popular from these. I use them as a motif to symbolize the stigmatization of gay culture but also draw them in a cute way.
ParticipantAs a result of your research what differences were you able to discern between Japan and Singapore’s gay culture?
KhaiPersonally I felt that in Tokyo I had a greater pressure to hide the fact that I am gay.
ParticipantHow did you decide the size of the work? Was it a response to the exhibition space?
KhaiI didn’t really decided upon it before hand, I just developed it in conversation with Ade as we were sharing the space together. Actually we were originally thinking to turn the space into a maze.

AdeConcept Outline
Through my work I attempt to express the confusion and dirt of the city. I suffer from OCD so actually I utilize this to enhance the visuals of the work. The work shown here was inspired by my experiences on the Tokyo trains, and I have used various flyers taken from stations to create collages which reflect a sense of urban confusion as seen from the moving train window. In the video installation I contrast scenes of deserted streets with the noise and confusion of the bustling city, while the tree sculpture is an exploration of the monumental images which we find in big cities.

ParticipantDoes your video of deserted areas of the city have any link with Khai’s work?
Ade: No not really.
Participant Why is it that you chose to work with wood when tackling a subject of the concrete jungle of the city?
AdeIn order to bring emphasis to the theme and concept of the work I decided upon an opposing material. Expressing the accumulation of concrete buildings through the organic material of wood.

HijikataConcept Outline
The main piece in this exhibition is made from a kind of salt crystal, gradually becoming brighter over time, and this idea of “fading in”, gaining light is the main theme of all the work here.

ParticipantYou use extremely beautiful crystals in your work but at the same time this is interestingly contrasted with the cheap material of tinsel, do you have a particular reason behind this?
Hijikata I decided to use tinsel as it recalls the memory of fun and joy within a particular community, and I wanted to communicate that image of the collective. I did not really consider it as a “cheap material”.
ParticipantIs the black mat underneath also part of the work?
HijikataAlthough I did not originally intend it I think it has now become part of the work.
ParticipantI don’t quite understand the relation between the photographs and the 3D works. (Indicating the set of two photographs and two wire sculptures covered in PVA in front of them)
HijikataThey are both created without intention, something born from coincidence.
 (Photos include images of ice built up in the freezer, and the sculptures are created from discarded wire covered in PVA)
Participant The use of these crystals brings a strong organic image but also has a suggestion of a darker side too…
HijikataThe shape itself is quite disturbing, some strange unknown form. While the actual materials all have a particular positive association the overall shape itself as you say holds something uncomfortable. It is a misshapen circle as if a clay ring has been squashed to such a form. I decide the exact size at the time of installation. I also usually don’t intend to show the frame beneath the crystal and do nothing to control its color, this is naturally absorbed from the tinsel below.


Vol.23 'Visiting' & 'Robotic Love Project6581 Part1 '

Date: 18.7.2013
Exhibition Title (period): 'Visiting' (2013.7.17-28)
Exhibitor: Renay Egami
Exhibition Title (period): 'Robotic Love Project6581 Part1' (2013.7.17-28)
Exhibitor: Shih Yun Yeo, Justin Lee
Participants (titles omitted): Exhibitors, Hiroko & Tatsuhiko Murata, Aya Murakami, Kaoru Murakami, Yuri Kabata
Moderator/ Interpreter: Utako Shindo
Documentation: Mika Harigai, Utako Shindo

Renay Egami

Project 6581

<Shih Yun Yeo>

Shih Yun: I undertook the director’s residence at Youkobo two years ago. This led me to propose the idea of exchange program as a way to develop and continue the relationship between Instinc and Youkobo. Project 6581 is named after the national numbers of each country, Singapore and Japan. This time I am here to join the artist in residency program, and I collaborated with robots to make drawings, and to create a new print work with my old friend who run printing workshop.
Visitor: How much did you have a control as an artist when you collaborated with robots?
Shi Yun: I attached brushes and branches, collected locally, to the toy robots purchased in Singapore, and I let them run on the large sheet of paper on the floor freely. I selected some marks I like, but I also picked the kinds of marks I would not choose usually. These marks were photoshoped to be printed in the workshop.
Kaoru: Did you printed by yourself, or your friend?
Shih Yun: No, the technician. Though he is very experienced, it was the first time for him to work with a foreign artist and respond to the irregular requests. For instance, I asked him to put multiple colors (CMY) onto a single roller which normally take one color, or I let them keep printing until the printed ink color gets faded. We printed around 500 sheets overall, and I selected 40 to install on the wall like tiles. I am also showing some prints which came out interestingly by coincident.
Utako: What made you select those prints that are now exhibited?
Shih Yun: I liked the random and accidental marks. So sometime even the test prints turned out more interesting than the final prints. When I was art university student in San Francisco, I was influenced by the works of abstract expressionists, and since then, I am exploring the new way of making traditional ink paint, such as by roller blades and so on.
Justin: Indeed, a cheap paper may bring better result than using an expensive paper.
Kaoru: I got a different impression from the wood pieces.Shih Yun: I found this wooded plate at SEKAIDO, and it felt quite Japanese to me so I used for my work this time. The printed images capture the work in progress in the studio and the studio environment itself, including the curious texture of slide door. I would also like to add that the projected video also documents how the machines were making drawing on the paper placed on the floor, and it is projected low and closed to the floor.

<Justin Lee>

Justin: Studio KURA residency which I joined last time in Japan was located in the middles of country side, surrounded by nature, rice fields. The animals were also very close to people. (Justin introduces his story with chickens who tried to communicate humanly with him when no one else was at the space.) This experience was quite different from the environment in Singapore thus I wanted to reflect the experience to this time of residency at Youkobo, to look into the relationship between nature and human. Youkobo is also felt close to nature. With the work which I used a leaf as a motif, you see the holes made naturally by warms and artificially by human were paralleled. The work reflect my realization that nature is not only providing a food for human, but all other animals, that it connects lives of all kinds.
Hiroko: Could you explain about the other installation works?
Justin: (about the piece with the soil) as if we draw or write personal messages on the sand on the beach, I expressed my feeling by using the soil. (about the piece with the shoes) this is my favourite. I bought the shoes locally and you must be familiar with it thus they may recall some memories of yours.  Though I don’t want to explain too much, but I think children is more close to the land, and nature than adults.
Utako: I also found the way you used Japanese are quite effective.
Justin: Thank to Emma who translated these texts for me. I usually intend to add a sense of humour to my work. Because life is too boring otherwise. Human tend to kick out things which they cannot get their own way, Like how they push the animals out from their territory. 
Shih Yun: I see ‘packman’ character over there. How do you intend to relate with the idea of robot?
Justin: I did not necessarily. But I have a collection of images which to be referred to or used for works. The image of bird is also selected from the image collection. About this exhibition, some thought my works were made by Japanese artists. I might have been influenced unconsciously.
Tatsuhiko: The next phase of the exchange project is for Japanese artists to go to Singapore. It is curious how the different urban/city environments of Singapore would influence their works to be produced there.

Editor's comment

This time, the report for the session of Renay’s work is not on display, as the artist found her research process is still quite early to be shared its detailed information online. While she is a quite established artist in Canada, she put herself to explore a completely new endeavor and work though her three-months residency without any compromise. On the other hand, Shih Yun and Justin worked in a very certain way so that they can complete the production of works to meet the expectation put on their projects. This contrast shows that the wide ranges of activities are, in deed, possible within the format of ‘artist-in-residence’. Whether for the thinking through experiments or the production for outputting, I believe that all the three artists worked on professional level and achieved certain outcomes which not only they do but we also appreciate. 


Vol.22 'Jaime Humphreys Solo Exhibition', 'Famous Ornament' & 'Ways of Worldmaking'

Date: 18.4.2013  
Exhibition Title (period): 'Jaime Humphreys Solo Exhibition' (2011.4.12-21)
Exhibitor: Jaime Humphreys
Exhibition Title (period): 'Famous Ornament' (2013.4.12-21)
Exhibitor: Margaret Lanzetta
Exhibition Title (period): 'Ways of Worldmaking' (2013.4.12-21)

Exhibitor: David Packer
 Participants (titles omitted): Exhibitors, Hiroko&Tatsuhiko Murata, Elizabeth Presa, Sumi Kanazawa, and others
Moderator/ Interpreter: Utako Shindo
Documentation: Mika Harigai, Utako Shindo

<Jaime Humphreys>

David: Was it really necessarily to draw the line? I understand your concept but would it be just enough for the video camera to follow and capture the lines of the building.
Jaime: This time, there was a desperate need for me to draw the actual lines. I have tried in another work the similar idea to what David suggested. It was a video work which explored to connect the exhibition venue and the spaces next door, by tracing the lines existing on the floors and the walls.
Margaret: It was interesting to see you drawing lines on the building. I thought it would be also interesting to show the video which records your action itself.  
Jaime: With this work, I intended to connect the residency space for the artists and the office space behind the gallery, while they are usually not seen and connected. What do you think about this action? 
Elizabeth: There was an artist in the past who actually cut the gallery space into half.
Margaret: The video looks almost black and white, so the occasional interruptions of colors are visually interesting. Can you think another way of tracing other than drawing? for instance, such an approach to trace the lines by hand.
Utako: The building and spaces were connected by a single line. Would it be possible to draw the multiple lines so that the viewer will choose which line to follow?
Jaime: The core idea is to connect the act of drawing lines and shooting video. I would be ideal if the viewers first notice the lines, then interpret the line freely.
David: I recognize the work as a kind of video work which does not require the viewers to keep watching it. Is it possible for the work to be shown at any place, like Francis Alye’s video works? I mean, can be only the video work exhibited?
Jaime: I am interested. I would like to present the work in the venue distant from the filmed space, to view it objectively.
Elizabeth: The line in the video, and the actual line on the wall are almost lined but not quite. This subtlety is a curious one. I wondered if it was intentional.
Hiroko: I was very impressed by the seriousness of Jaime’s attitude towards making works. (The total length of the line is 300 meters. He kept working for the 2 weeks all day.)
Sumi: The obsessiveness is not visible to us. If it is more present, will the work become more interesting?
Jaime: if people notice my hard-work, which is great, but it is not the central concern of the work.  
Utako: If the labor intensiveness is not part of the concept, could you think about a different kind of making process?
David: I think the choice of the material, a tape, was perfect, as it can be used on almost any surfaces.
Elizabeth: I have just realized that the line was made of tape.
Hiroko: It is like the foot trace of ants.
Jaime: Interestingly the ant did walk along the tape when I was drawing outside of the building.
Artist’s friend: There is a basic principal for sketch to draw lines as if the ant walks. The lines are like ones drawn by an architect or like a line of music.
Jaime: That is why the musicians performed at the opening event.
Hiroko: I wonder how the line will look like if the building is just removed.

<David Packer>
David: I am a sculptor, and at the same time, I am an image-maker. I have been collecting the images that resonate with myself for the last couple of decades. I have six categories to understand the world: history, land, city, religion, industry and army.

Elizabeth: Which category are you after this time?
David: This is the first time when I am expressing all categories at once. I let the viewers to decide what they see in the works.
Hiroko: In addition to your own database, did you add any new visual data during this residency?
David: This residency actually increased the number of category: Cherry blossom, architecture and square box. The image given by my friend was originally sourced from the internet. Not only when I undertake residency, but whenever I am, there are always some new influences, and there are resources available which are common to all the categories I have. The world is small, in my opinion.
David: I won’t talk about the Japanese influence this time. I usually tend not to talk about my work. I think that the work can explain by itself.
Hiroko: I agree.
Friend’s artist: I got an impression that you do curving and modeling simultaneously. 

<Margaret Lanzetta>

Margaret: The silkscreen which I used this time was a stylized cherry blossom. By cutting off the image of cherry blossom, it appealed to be away from its original image. The repetition like Buddhism chanting, is one of my method of image making. This time, I intended to talk about the historical and political intentions behind the image of cherry blossom, rather than the beauty and ephemerality of the flower. Historically, the image was used to idealize the death of young people who died during the war.

Hiroko: I think that cherry blossom somehow shakes human’s emotions. In my case, it reminded me of the particular time when my father was in hospital.
Margaret: There is an irony with the title, ‘Famous Ornament’.
Sumi: Did you know the theme before you came to Japan?
Margaret: No. After I came and noticed that there are many cherry blossom images used in town. I then decided to use it as I recognize it as the cultural element. I also learn for the first time about how Japanese have manipulated the image.
Utako: The images of silkscreen are so effective and striking that my eyes almost hurt.
Artist’ friend: If the scale is larger, it may be more effective.
Elizabeth: I am putting the catalogue of this exhibition in my resident. This time I missed to see the real blossom but her image offers the perspectives. I think the works we see here are very tasteful indeed.

Editor's comment
The three exhibitors this time seemed to stimulate each other: a young artist who put a solo exhibition after some time gap, veteran artists who have rich experiences in residency and exhibitions. The opinions were expressed about what to choose and what to let go, till which degree to control the work, and to leave the interpretation of the work to the viewers. Whether it is in the gallery context or the residency exhibition context, the resources always has limit. The three artists exchanged practical ideas about how to perform to get maximum outcome. We hope this dialogues will be reflected on their future activities.