|TOKYO FIBER '09: SENSEWARE|
|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: October 19 2009|
fig. 1 Makoto AZUMA x UNITIKA.LTD., image provided by “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee in Japan Chemical Fibers Association.
This show was held in Tokyo as part of the exhibition tour of the “TOKYO FIBER ’09”, which was held first at Triennale Design Museum, Milano around the same term as La Triennale Di Milano in April, 2009, under the direction of the designer, Kenya Hara. I am greatly pleased to have had a chance to visit the exhibition in Tokyo this time, since it was so regrettable for me to miss it when it was held in Italy. It might be due to that the exhibition was held with the aim of announcing products newly introduced by companies, but no admission fee was required in spite of exhibits of high quality, which contributed to making the exhibition, which was held during the consecutive holidays, extremely busy. I often feel that, in contrast to “contemporary art” exhibitions, there are many other successful shows which are held using the themes of design or architecture while they show “modern” artists/artworks. Indeed, I am not sure if I can really say whether this is true or not, but in venues of exhibitions regarding design or architecture, I often see a wide range of customers regardless of age or sex, such as the young who look like students and men in business suits who seem to visit a show as part of his work. Compared with such a hot air in design or architecture shows as mentioned above, it is really unbearable that galleries where I usually visit are almost always lack of visitors and I have to “view” artworks mostly alone. Whether exhibitions grab people’s attention may be attributed to the purposes of holding, namely, whether they are held for commercial and social purposes or not. If this is true, I cannot help thinking about the current obstruction of “modern art” even though we often hear that “modern art boom” has been continuing.
To return to my previous point, this exhibition showed seventeen creations which were made using state-of-the-art synthetic fiber by fifteen artists and two companies. Among the exhibits, some works, which created an image of organic “life” in spite of having been made using fiber which is one of artificial materials, drew my attention. For example, Makoto Azuma’s “Koke-jikan” (2009) [fig. 1 and fig. 2], which was displayed using both the outside and inside of the exhibition hall was made by putting moss on a huge planter which was created using bio-based material, TERAMMAC. In fact, this creation is said to have been made using several kinds of moss, but Azuma expressed a seedbed by using not soil but synthetic fiber. Having been given water periodically with a spray bottle, the moss was growing during the term of the exhibition. On the third day of the period, I could find there was something like sprout. The word “artificial” may often make us imagine things which are opposed to “nature”. Nevertheless, this exhibit expresses the new possibilities and thoughts of “artificial” things which Azuma calls the “third nature”.*1 The term, “third nature”, may remind some of the readers of the “Second Nature” exhibition (21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, 17/Oct/2008-18/Jan/2009), which was directed by Tokujin Yoshioka and in which Azuma was also involved. In the exhibition, Yoshioka attempted to create a “new form of nature”, namely, that of the “second nature”. Such difference between Yoshioka and Azuma as mentioned above shows that Azuma, as a flower shop owner and flower artist, has been adhering to his ideal to be not a creator who generates a new form of nature but a mediator in existing nature. Also in this exhibition, he intended to show us the vitality and beautifulness of moss through the exhibit. He has already used moss in another creation named “MOSSY HILL (What a fucking wonderful world)” (2008), which was shown at AMPG. Compared to this earlier work, the “Koke-jikan”, which seemed to be a marshland, was made by piling up a vast amount of moss and by utilizing the shading of green color, which seemed to make a great impact on the viewers among the exhibits, most of which were made using monotonous colors.
fig. 4 Yasuhiro SUZUKI x Toyobo Co., Ltd., image provided by “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee in Japan Chemical Fibers Association.
fig. 3 Yasuhiro SUZUKI x Toyobo Co., Ltd., image provided by “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee in Japan Chemical Fibers Association.
Let me give you another example of the exhibits. Yasuhiro Suzuki created the mannequin, “Seni-no-hito” (2009) [fig. 3 and fig. 4], which was made using three-dimensional spring to make the doll looked like taking breath actually. A part of the body which was made of fiber was moving, which made us feel as if the mannequin was breathing in and out like a human. It gave us a strange but funny and worm impression. The “Warau-kuruma” (2009), which was jointly created by the Design Division, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nippon Design Center, Hara Design Institute, was made using polyurethane elastic fiber to make the front of the car move to be looked like smiling. Sometimes, the front of car makes us imagine a human face. Nonetheless, the “Warau-kuruma” was created based on a specific and humorous idea to develop a good relationship between humans and cars by making cars smile actually.
The above-mentioned exhibits may not be considered as “artworks” in terms of the nature of this exhibition. The exhibits were created using various kinds of synthetic fiber which were developed by the appointed companies and the exhibitors who had been selected by the director, Hara, included not only individuals but some business corporations, such as the Design Division, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nippon Design Center, Hara Design Institute, and Panasonic Corporation. Nevertheless, the other kinds of exhibits, including Jun Aoki’s “THIN BEAM” (2009) [fig. 5 and fig. 6], in which lighting equipments seemed to be still up in the air by being fixed at only one position, made me feel that there were some possibilities of creating something by using a certain material. Considering that the history of art has advanced together with development of materials, it can be said that this exhibition contributed to expanding the possibilities of not only products but of artists. An important thing would be how much an exhibition stirs up our curiosity rather than into which field it is classified - “design” or “art” -. Macroscopically, there would be no separation between “design” and “art”, wouldn’t it?
fig. 6 Jun AOKI x Toray Industries, Inc., image provided by “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee in Japan Chemical Fibers Association.
fig. 5 Jun AOKI x Toray Industries, Inc., image provided by “TOKYO FIBER” Executive Committee in Japan Chemical Fibers Association.
|Last Updated on July 22 2010|