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art-life+vol.11 Toshiyuki Kajioka: “The Birth Canal – Waves towards the Future”
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: April 23 2009

    Ink and pencils – these materials bring us an image that is black in color. Clearly, however, it cannot be said that black is “a single color”, as the colors of ink differ between manufacturing areas or eras and the blackness of pencils varies with their hardness or make. In this, Toshiyuki Kajioka’s solo exhibition held in Spiral Garden, we can enjoy a set of works giving a complete representation of the diverse nature of his works created by using ink and pencils and different types of brushwork or creative processes.

    In this exhibition, we encounter first the work titled “Picture Scroll of Darkness” (Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 182cm×1,530cm, from 2008 to 2009) which is more than 15 meters in width. This work, which was created by connecting 6 panels, is displayed leaving a space from the floor as if it is floating in the air so that it gives viewers the illusion that the picture plane is arching out from the wall surface as they walk leftwards in accordance with the flow line directed. Throughout the picture, the same pattern is employed by using pencils, and above this, ink is daubed to form a pattern of flowing water, as if the water is draining away. The light does not shine on the picture equally, as the work is not displayed flat on the wall. Therefore, it is a characteristic of this work that viewers can find different aspects of it depending on the position from which they see it. Standing near the center of the work, we feel as if beams of light are shooting throughout the picture from one side to another. Thus, it can be said that the light plays a significant role in this work in spite of its title, “Picture Scroll of Darkness”. And indeed this “light” means not only the light, including the artificial lighting or natural light illuminating the work, but also the sparkle of the ink and pencil itself.

fig. 1 "Mark" (2008-2009); Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 510cm×890cm Photo provided by Spiral / Wacoal Art Center Co., Ltd. copy right(c) Toshiyuki KAJIOKA / Courtesy of SPIRAL/Wacoal Art Center

    “Mark” (Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 510cm×890cm, from 2008 to 2009) is displayed, making full use of the structural characteristics of Spiral Garden, which has a café (on the 1st floor) and a museum shop (on the 2nd floor) in the center of the site and a vaulted ceiling (atrium space). This work, consisting of 10 panels (5 panels are on the upper side and the other panels are on the lower side), is displayed impressively, exposed to sunlight pouring through the skylight window. Though it is difficult to compare this work with “Picture Scroll of Darkness” described above as these two works are different in their forms of illumination and display, I suppose Kajioka depicts the freewheeling nature of water more clearly in this work than in “Picture Scroll of Darkness”, while also expressing the image of water. I think that in this work he is more interested in depicting the motionless of water, even though he also expresses its flowing and freewheeling nature. Furthermore, I guess the natures of these two works are completely different, mainly due to the aspect ratio used in constructing each work. Tabaimo once created an animation work showing the sea in the night, in which viewers feel as if the sea swallows everything[Notes:1]. “Mark” also evokes a similar image of the sea, which is silent but horrible.

    Although, as mentioned above, almost all of the seven works displayed in this exhibition are created by using only ink and pencil, we can find that the composition of each work is different if we take a close look at these works. Let me describe the other five works briefly in the order of display. “Nocturne” (Torinokoshi/ink/lead/brush/water-soluble paints/glue, 274cm×520cm, in 2007) which is displayed on the opposite side of “Picture Scroll of Darkness” across the café gives us an inorganic image as it is composed of a collection of sensitive and uniform strokes, and in that respect it is different from the other works at first sight. “Rhyme” (Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 182cm×227.3cm, in 2008) features the image of a flow of water which is similar to that depicted in “Picture Scroll of Darkness”, while in “Protean” (Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 227cm×546cm, in 2009) the fierce wind in the grass and the furiously burning fire are expressed by drawing a wave of pencil lines. In “Dream” (Kochimashi/ink/pencils, 112.1cm×145.5cm, in 2009), we find, throughout the picture, a matière created by using ink rather than pencil lines. “Night” (Torinokoshi/ink/pencils, 128cm×147cm, in 2007) is a sensitive and beautiful work, created using the finest brushwork of all the works.

    According to the exhibition pamphlet, the title of this exhibition, “The Birth Canal”, includes the meaning of “Chaos/darkness/water as the origin of life from which new things appear. It conveys this by comparing the ‘Canal’ to a scene when a dynamic work expressing the surface of water appears in a space”. This is a world which can be created only by using ink and pencils, which were originally water-borne materials. These works present viewers with an austere image. That is why they have the great potential to put viewers through a rich variety of experience. Passing through the birth canal, an unborn child will encounter the world, moving towards the future of hope - I have a great faith in it. (Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

"Midnight Sea" Tabaimo: "Yoroyoron", Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 3/Jun/2006-29/Aug/2006
Related Exhibition

"art-life+vol.11 Toshiyuki Kajioka: "The Birth Canal – Waves towards the Future""
09/Apr/2009 - 26/Apr/2009

Last Updated on July 05 2010

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