Solo Exhibition “1/2 Century later.” in Shiseido Gallery
Series of White Painting
As a minimal architecture
White Painting series was conducted in various regions/places and sometimes as much as 100 people’s kisses were impressed on a canvas.
White Painting is a collective term for the series and originally each work (canvas) has its own names of the participated peopleーsometimes it is the names of 100 people, 20 people, or three or four people in a family.
1. Icons in a cycle of society
2. Opticality and technology / Invisible objects themselves
1. Icons in a cycle of society
Icon and paintings were surely in a cycle of lives and society once. The way people come in contact with this format is quite similar to the way they do with an icon. Meanwhile, the difference of this series from the icons is that in a White Painting nothing is depictedーor different images appear in the background when people face to it (and it is not God but other individual people). White Painting is a hardware/platforms without an image.
This attempt was accepted by many regions and people. (In parallel with the general “reality” of a big unit/scale and division at the global level, there exists actually the fact like this too.)
This series was conducted in the US, Mexico, Taiwan, Italy, and Spain and the number of participants was over 600. Even the canvas on which almost 100 people had impressed kisses remained surprisingly white. And in a public space, the canvas interfered with people as a highly mobile, small structure/space.
In a house, a White Painting for a family. (Owned by a collector)
The figure above /
Drawing of structures
2. Opticality and technology / Invisible objects themselves
That "this work is blank" is only the result of visual perception and indeed it is not that there is nothing.
This is not the story of an invisible (written) process but seen from the viewpoints of biotechnology, IHT (In Human-Technology) and nanotechnology this painting is clearly a material object itself.
Excerpted from discussion
Excerpted from the introduction of “Shiseido Gallery 1/2 Century later.”
“The canvas in the exhibit has no trace of paint or ink on it; however, it is impressed with the kisses of about 100 people. This work, which consists of asking randomly selected people around town to plant a kiss on the canvas, is being carried out in the USA, Mexico, and Taiwan, and the total kiss count has exceeded 600, with as many as 50 people participating on busy days.(*November 2017)”
“This attempt looks contrast to big units or a division at a global scale such as nations, religions, races, organizations and so on ― for example, the situations including Brexit, border walls, refugee problems, etc. ― and enables us to feel a great potential of the revival of connection/globalization in a different form which comes into existence only in a small unit. It is also possible to look for the similarities to today’s social media such as YouTube and Instagram.
However the biggest feature of this work is that, besides the contemporary aspect like this, it can be interpreted in many ways connecting closely to the history of western art history.
For example, the scenery of this action is very similar to the kissing act to the icons (paintings in which Crist, the Holy Mother and others are depicted) seen in Christianity and Russian Orthodox. However, nothing is painted here and there is no one object to be worshiped.”
“It also approaches to the relationship between paintings and viewers. What kind of the experience is that to be exposed to paintings? It is also possible to see these kisses as brushstrokes as in action paintings. Or it is an artwork that is not completed only with the canvas as a medium but is in a network.
Changing the point of view, this two-dimensional work is the assembly of DNA, cells etc. Although it cannot be seen clearly now, it can be said that this is also an archive of people. In the exhibition, besides one of the works in this series, the film shot in each place and pictures were exhibited. The film was shown in the iPhone which had been used for the actual shooting.
In the first space, there was the installation destructed and broken apart, and in the space behind on a diagonal line, there was this work. This composition can be said to show a will to overcome the problems in this half a century, regenerate and combine them into one different form.”
A documentary film of the series held in Los Angeles, the US.
People were asked what love is after they kissed on the canvas.
Director of photography / Editor
Sound technician / Designer
Q. Why does not it have lipstick marks?
A. We asked people to kiss the canvas after they wiped their lips regardless of gender. A lot of people kissed on the canvas yet it remined white surprisingly.
Q. How did you speak to people?
A. There were considerable theatrical/visual elements in the instructions to people. We believe this also reflects the [technique] of the film.
From the place of re-excavation to the space of construction
Solo exhibition “1/2 Century later” mainly with a sculpture work “Beyond good and evil, make way toward the wast land.” which destructed/weathered the room in the last scene of the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968), and a white two-dimensional work / a minimum architecture “White Painting” impressed with the kisses of about 100 people.
Foreground and background
The space for the exhibition was close to a cube and the axis of space (the longest distance) was found on the diagonal. The two pieces of work were faced with each other on this vector. It was a classical structure that the dispersed sculptural work was located at the center and the painting was on background/surroundings yet the central objects themselves were not connected but scattered. They were located to make parallax to the painting behind.
(Moreover, the position of White Painting is the place where the monolith was in the film.)
The audiences first go through the ruined room and then they encounter White Painting in the space behind.
1/2 Century later / From the place of re-excavation to the space of construction
The movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” was released in 1968 and this exhibiton was held in the end of 2017. The title “1/2 Century later” means both “half a century from then” and “half a century from now on”. This space shows the transition from “the place of re-excavation of ‘the fictitious future’ in 50 years ago” to “the possibilities different from the prediction”.
“Beyond good and evil, make way to ward the waste land.”
These works were also transitions from (probably) exciting visual experience to something looks vacant.
Outline (Excerpted from exhibition information)
THE EUGENE Studio 1/2 Century later.
Duration: November 21 (Tue) to December 24 (Sun), 2016
The Shiseido Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition “THE EUGENE Studio — 1/2 Century Later,” which will run from November 21 (Tue) through December 24 (Sun). THE EUGENE Studio is a completely new artist team focusing on contemporary art that pushes the conventional boundaries outward toward the creation of the next society. Along with design groups like teamLab and others, THE EUGENE Studio’s Japanese artist team has been garnering worldwide attention, its activities arguably establishing a new 21st-century image of what it is to be an artist.*1
For this exhibition, THE EUGENE Studio presents an installation of previously unseen works based around the motif of “1968,”*2 and the exhibition title “1/2 Century Later” refers to “the half century since then” (as well as “the half century from now”). THE EUGENE Studio has been exploring fresh new images of the future that “we of today” can create by connecting with today’s reality and contrasting such images with our previous images of the future. This exhibition space features a large glass-sheet installation piece on the motif “the legacy of ‘future images’ drawn by the stories of the past,” and around this are arranged works that reflect the next future.
The futures these artists have contributed include: the 2D work “Agricultural Revolution 3.0,” which depicts a tranquil life in which biotechnology and agriculture have merged; portions of a script and sketch board for a story about an artificial intelligence agency; and “White Painting,” a work central to this exhibition and created through a collective method that adopts the structures characteristic of the social media era to convey small hopes for the new globalization. The legacy of “future images” from the past half-century come face-to-face in the gallery with the start of the new yet contiguous future in which we are living now. Visitors may get to experience the feeling of a new society as this refined worldview resonates the spectacle of the exhibition space. This is to perceive the values of the new future as illuminated by art along with the progress of 21st-century science and technology, and it is also the experience of expressing this in words.
In recent years, THE EUGENE Studio has drawn on research and conferences featuring participants from Cambridge University, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, OMA NY, and others, and these feature in the biotechnology and agricultural themes in “Agricultural Revolution 3.0.” It has also collaborated with science fiction writer Ken Liu (winner of three of the most prestigious American science fiction awards), and it has been expanding its international presence to include full involvement in film production.
Even as it takes an active look back on the history of art itself, art history and the circumstances of the past, THE EUGENE Studio also continues to renew the map of that “contiguous future,” in which the past and the present alike find connection, by purposefully involving itself in today’s real society through a multifaceted sphere of activity, including participation in cutting-edge R&D in fields like artificial intelligence, urbanization, and biotechnology. It can be said that these are the kinds of activities which, even while embracing the conceptual creativity, contextuality and forms of pure contemporary art, will be truly instrumental in creating the next actualities in society.
Shiseido takes as its mission to inspire a life of beauty and culture, and through the activities of the Shiseido Gallery we connect the new values of society to inspire our lifestyle and culture by sharing images of the future as reflected in the new art of each era. We hope this exhibition will stimulate as many people as possible to begin updating their own maps of the future.
*1 Daisuke Miyatsu’s The Age of Art x Technology, published this year by Kobunsha Shinsho, introduces THE EUGENE Studio along with teamLab, Takram, and Rhizomatiks as four Japanese artists currently garnering international acclaim.
*2 1968, the year of Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis for the movie Blade Runner), was the year which saw the definition of many of the emblematic future images that remain with us today, extrapolated from developments in science and technology at the time.