|Feb. 11, 1997||Mar. 4, 1997|
Art Watch Index - Feb. 25, 1997
Art Watch Back Number Index
<<The Look and the Gaze3>>
MIZUMA ART GALLERY
Hiroyuki Matsukage Profile
The Beautiful Comparison Between Photography and Painting
Although it is not majorly publicized like the exhibition at a museum, there is an exhibition at a gallery which marks a sparkle in the art scene in Tokyo.
To arrive at the Mizuma Art Gallery, one must walk on the Aoyama-dori from the Omotesando subway station towards Shibuya, turn right at the corner of "Mujirushi Ryohin", and it is at the end of the street. From February of last year, this gallery has been holding a series of exhibitions, <<The Look and the Gaze>>, every 6 months commissioning the independent curator, Keishin NAKASEKO. In this exhibition, which is the third and the last one, he takes up Ichigo SUGAWARA (Born 1960), a photographer/writer active in the fields of advertising and fashion, and Manabu NAKANISHI (Born 1959), who creates painting and sculpture.
SUGAWARA, who has been exhibiting photography with suppressed colors and precise printing, expressing a stillness and a poetic sentiment carrying grief, displays five new monochromatic works taken at a waterfall in Norway, and one latest work of a color nude photo. The "waterfall" series of amazingly fine gelatin silver print, at first glance, has flat and dull white and black tones, but actually, it shows that it carries infinite depth and stillness, attracting the viewer. Especially, the black which absorbs light and even sound is attractive, and the pale, white splash of water which appears from the black looks as if it has frozen within a distant time. The nude torso of a woman lying on her side in the greyish, cold, and dark color tone, is breathtakingly beautiful in the excellent composition.
Contrasted to this ascetic photography of SUGAWARA are the vivid colors which directly seem to be squeezed out of the paint tubes, seen in the paintings by NAKANISHI, who has depicted dynamic and organic images that remind us of a magnified picture of an organism's cell (two oil paintings, and one with acrylic and pastel). Because he is an artist who has also been showing three-dimensional works large enough to fill the whole gallery space, though these works are two-dimensional, they have a strength which seems to break through all kinds of frame.
The contrast of static photographs and dynamic paintings are vivid, and at the same time, communicates a kind of unexpectedness. It is probably because these indicate the opposite side of the childish trend seen in part in the recent Japanese photography scene, where immature and unorganized "works" are praised, and this country's contemporary painting scene where there are constantly, works that are repetitions of the already attempted minimalism.
Though the meaning of the title, <<The Look and the Gaze>>, is vague, this exhibition has been taking up artists such as Kyoko SHIRATSUCHI (photography) and Kozuki WATANABE (painting) in the first exhibition, and Hiroyuki MATSUKAGE (photography) and OJUN (painting) in the second show. Until the last exhibition, a satisfactory show was not seen due to the poor level on the photography side, but in the current show, the beautiful contrast of visual languages, photography and painting, is realized. Curators who create such an exhibition, and the existence of galleries which offer such curators a place for their activities, can be said to offer a seed of hope for the Japanese contemporary art scene.
[Satoru NAGOYA/Art Journalist]
"The World of John Ford"
Filmography of John Ford (I)
Battle of Midway, The (1942)
Filmography of Roberto Rossellini
Filmography of Jean-Luc Godard
December 7th (1943)
Iron Horse, The (1924)
Judge Priest (1934)
Filmography of Dziga Vertov
Vertov'survey of work
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Streamboat 'Round the Bend (1935)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Western Movies Are Not the Only John Ford Movies
"The Centennial - The World of John Ford"
Tag Gallagher, who says his personally favorite film is "The Battle of Midway" (1942), wrote a book about John Ford, and an indication of his love for him can be seen in how he compares his praise for Ford as a "modernist" director with Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and even Straub- Huillet. I had been forced to bear the low-level, bitter regret simply coming from not seeing the film, but though there might be a difference of degree, for those who had also been putting up with a similar regret, "The Centennial - the World of John Ford" planned by Eurospace is more than good news - it is an unexpected, welcome event. Such a surprise becomes several times more impactful especially when it is about the Ford movies, and his films also teach us what kind of attitude we should take in such a case. "I was not ready and when the attack arrived I had only an ayemo, a 16mm camera. I shot film and continued to change the film magazines and to stuff them in my pockets. The image jumping a lot became the grenades shaking the camera when filming war scenes. For me it was authentic because the shells were exploding at my foot." (Univ. of California Press, John Ford. p. 204).
The strange filmmaker
Among the already shown films, besides "The Battle of Midway" and "December 7th" (1943), there also are "The Iron Horse" (1924) and "Judge Priest" (1934), but the proper attitude to have is to carefully avoid the trouble of re-confirming the "modernity" of the Ford films by studying the difference between "documentary" and "ficton", watching Godard and Vertov, and those who missed seeing Ford's movies should loyally wait for a re-run, and those who have seen them should also look forward to another showing. Among the works that will be shown after this, besides "How Green Was My Valley" (1941) which can be seen in the form of video quite easily too, we absolutely cannot miss "Steamboat 'Round the Bend" (1935). When we encounter the absurdity of an object being called a "steamboat", when it dashes forward as it destroys itself rather than making a tour, John Ford's strangeness as a filmmaker comes forward surpassing such a friendly word like "modernity".
An image that can be called nothing else but "Ford-ish"
Certainly, this kind of strangeness may be decreasing, for example in the films shown at this event, such as "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939) made under the supervision of Zanuck, but these have its individual ways of enjoying. The people who luckily came to the movie theater were able to secretly indulge themselves in the slightly reactionary pleasure of the "Ford-ish" images, such as the waivering shadows of trees, the riverbank and the big tree, the people standing on the white ground exposed to the sunlight, and the people taking their usual walks along the fence. I was able to think afresh that that kind of attitude is reactionary because of the presence of John Ford.
[Yuzo MORITA/Film Critic]
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|Feb. 11, 1997||Mar. 4, 1997|