Kyoto: Super Window Project

This and the following few posts should have come out weeks ago, after my recent trip to Kyoto in early July, but were set aside because I was on a deadline for the last round of corrections on my book, and had to handle the usual end of the term papers/exams/grading routines. I am done with both now and will take the next couple of weeks to catch up with my postings.

Soshi Matsunobe, installation view at the Super Window Project gallery. Image courtesy of the gallery.

The Super Window Project in Kyoto has two simultaneous exhibitions at two different venues. The main gallery houses an installation by a young neo-minimalist artist Soshi Matsunobe whose works could serve as illustrations for Donald Judd’s definition of sculpture as “specific objects in literal space.” Matsunobe’s sculptures are made of paper and covered with geometric linear overdrawing in black ink—most of it parallel lines placed at regular intervals. The objects are stacked in various configurations in or around large plywood shelflike display case, with few elongated pieces leaned against the wall and the largest work placed directly on the floor. The arrangement is very precise, in part, because of the optical interaction between the black-on-white linework and the matte black walls of the gallery. Still, Baron Osuna, who curated the show, avoided any semblance of decorativeness, as he allowed the objects to dominate the space and not be subsumed into the larger design scheme.

Takashi Suzuki, “Bau” series (100 photographs), 2009, C-print on wood. 8,5 x 11cm. Edition of 3 + 2 AP.Courtesy Super Window Project, Kyoto. ©2009-2010 Takashi Suzuki.

The second Super Window Project exhibition is at a different location in downtown Kyoto. It showcases the latest work of photographer Takashi Suzuki, a Kyoto-based artist who trained in Boston and Dusseldorf. The photographs are mounted on wood, and, just like Matsunobe’s paper sculptures have a have a distinct “object” feel to them, but one’s perception of the artwork is quite different if the images are seen before the mounted photos. I first encountered these photographs projected on a screen during an artist talk event held at the gallery on July 4, which made me to conceptualize the works in much more formal terms. At the time, Suzuki presented this latest works as an investigation of architecture through photography. The cycle, entitled Bau, shows constructions made of household sponges stacked to imitate architectural shapes. Because the photographs are taken from a 45 degree angle the constructions look almost monumental despite the humble nature of the material that composes them. This re-assignation of meaning reflects Suzuki’s intention to examine how the viewers gather and process visual information, and to understand the mechanisms behind visual cognition. By defamiliarizing the object (sponges), the artist denies their primary function in order to create a new paradigm in which lasting and disposable collide.

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