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Satoshi UCHIUMI: Voyager
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: August 24 2009

fig. 1 View from "Satoshi Uchiumi, VOYAGER" exhibition in eN arts, courtesy of eN arts

fig. 2 “Underneath Colors” (2009); oil on wood, 60×60×60mm, courtesy of eN arts copy right(c) Satoshi UCHIUMI

fig. 3 View from "Satoshi Uchiumi, VOYAGER" exhibition in eN arts; (left) “Free Climb”, (right) “Alvino”, (center) “Symbol of the Background”, photo by NAOMI ROWE, courtesy of eN arts

copy right(c) Satoshi UCHIUMI

fig. 5 View from "Satoshi Uchiumi, VOYAGER" exhibition in eN arts; (upper) “Overhead Colors 84”, (lower) "Fisheye”, photo by NAOMI ROWE, courtesy of eN arts

fig. 6 "Fisheye” (2009); oil on wood, 85×85×85cm, photo by NAOMI ROWE, courtesy of eN arts

     It is often said that the gallery, “eN arts”, has an extremely complex design. On the first floor, there is a tea room as well as the ordinary exhibition space. Walking down the stairs while looking at the tall wall surface at the front, we notice that there is also a small exhibition room on the first basement level. Therefore, it can be said that artists who intend to present their works in this gallery need to understand the characteristics of its design. Regarding this exhibition, Uchiumi newly created all of the exhibits, to ensure they were suitable to be displayed in this gallery. Indeed, this is his fifth solo exhibition of 2009, but compared with the other 2009 solo exhibitions, apart from “The unrestricted field of view” in the Graniph Gallery Fukuoka, which I missed, I suppose his creations, which were presented in this exhibition, “VOYAGER” (01/Aug/2009-30/Aug/2009), would have been created on a larger scale than those of the others.

     In this exhibition, we found that some works which were created using three primary colors, namely, red, green and blue, as their basic colors, were displayed at key places in the room. For example, the “Underneath Colors” (oil on canvas, 1,000mm×1,100mm×80mm, 2009) [fig. 1], which we found immediately after entering the room, was created mainly with blue-colored paints, and the next work entitled “Symbol of the Background” (oil on canvas, 2,310mm×8,910mm×30mm, 2009), which was displayed at the widest space in the gallery, was made based on the color green. In addition, the “Un” (oil on canvas, 1,950mm×3,200mm×30mm, 2009), which was shown in the last exhibition room on the basement floor, was created using red as its basic color. Indeed, all these three works can be said to reflect the main characteristics of Uchiumi’s creations in that they featured varying polka-dot patterns, but I would like to focus on various other kinds of creations which were shown in the spaces among the above-mentioned works.

     Following the “Underneath Colors”, there were two works, the “Corona” (oil on wood, 60mm×60mm×60mm, 2009) [fig. 2] and the “Free Climb” (crayon + acrylic on paper, 2,200mm×2,400mm, 2009) [fig. 3]. Regarding the former, twelve wooden spherical objects, the surfaces of which were colored using polka-dot patterns, were arranged linearly on the pedestal. In the latter, a number of colored, square patterns were arranged on the paper though these did not use a polka-dot effect. There was a gloss on the surface of the work, probably because of using crayons in addition to acrylic paints, which gave us a lightweight image of its coating, which we rarely find in oil paintings. Furthermore, as another example of Uchiumi’s new types of creations, there was the “Alvino” (cast bronze, 50mm×50mm×10mm, 2009) [fig. 4]. Also in this exhibition, two pieces of work were displayed on the wall surface in front of the stairs, exemplifying how Uchiumi sometimes creates extremely small-sized works and displays them with other exhibits effectively. Indeed, the “Alvino”, which was created using cast bronze, seemed to follow the format of his previous small creations, but we have never seen such a solid texture in other works. In fact, I felt Uchiumi emphasized the material aspects in these works too strongly by displaying sixteen of them in total, lining them up four by four, but it may also have been inevitable that he came to focus on materials, which were different to those in his other creations, and to pursue the beauty of the paints themselves. Overall, the “Alvino” created a sense of unity among the other colorful exhibits. The next creation, the “Symbol of the Background”, almost covered an entire wall. In this way, I would like to emphasize that some works, including the “Alvino” and the “Symbol of the Background”, which were created using different materials or formats to those of the other exhibits, contributed to expanding the range of his works.

     In the tea room [fig. 5], we found the work entitled “Fisheye” (oil on wood, 85cm×85cm×85cm, 2009) [fig. 6], in which a number of polka-dot patterns were drawn inside a sphere. I remember that I saw a work which was similar to the “Fisheye” at the group exhibition, the “TANAGOKORO 9”, which was held at the Roentgenwerke AG. Although, at that time, I was a little bit confused about the unexpected form of his work - a three-dimensional creation - the “Fisheye”, which was displayed in a Japanese-style alcove, seemed to match the space by an interaction with the ocher-colored “Overhead Colors 84” (oil on canvas, 610mm×430mm×40mm, 2009), which was placed behind it. It seemed that Uchiumi expressed the same way of thinking as that of ancient people, who considered that there was outer space in a cup. It should be pointed out that there was a close relationship between the tea room and the small exhibition room on the basement level. The basement room was mostly in the dark with the exception of the two thin lights coming in through a gap between the curtains. When I entered the room, there was sunlight shining from the window, which made me notice that the work (the “Un”) was in front of me. Nevertheless, I could not recognize what was depicted in it at a glance and it was also difficult for me to imagine even the size of the room immediately after entering the room. However, as my eyes gradually adapted to the darkness, I came to notice that there were an awful lot of red-colored polka-dot patterns and that the white parts were illuminated. Needless to say, I could not see them so clearly as to look at them under the light, but this visual experience was extremely fruitful for me so that this seemed to be an adequate way to show the work. It can be said that such an optical experience was the same as taking my shoes off, sitting in a tea room, and encountering a work. In other words, there was affluence in the midst of silence.

     The title of this exhibition, the “VOYAGER”, means a “traveler”. Nonetheless, through this title, Uchiumi intended to refer to the unmanned spacecraft named “VOYAGER”, which was launched by NASA in 1977. In fact, through this exhibition, I felt as if all parts of my body were transformed into my “eye”, just like an unmanned spacecraft, to search here and there in the exhibition site. Takeshi Hirata spoke about Uchiumi’s creations as follows: “His method can be described as delicate scale - tuning by varying the size of the pieces from large to small, as if tuning the tone little by little as shown again in the results at this exhibition."*1 In this exhibition, I felt as if I myself was being tuned by Uchiumi’s paintings. In the dark, the “Un”, which means “the end” in the field of esoteric Buddhism, informed me of the new perspective which I acquired through this exhibition. (Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

“Satoshi UCHIUMI: The unrestricted field of view” by Takeshi Hirata, Reviews, KALONSNET, 2009
Last Updated on August 30 2010

Editor's Note by Satoshi Koganezawa

This is the fifth exhibition this year, and the 20th solo exhibition of his life. Uchiumi exhibits works with different colors, formats, sizes, and materials, etc. according to each exhibition space, though eN arts was a gallery of a complex design with one floor at ground level and the other underground. All the works are new, and are experimental in that they thoroughly investigate their possibilities in this complex exhibition space. However, being experimental is not the only point of interest. It is an extremely comfortable exhibition because of the rhythm produced among the works. This exhibition also used the Japanese-style room on the first floor of eN arts. It evoked my interest in seeing Uchiumi’s exhibition in a Japanese-style house one day.

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