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The art comes out in the town
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: December 03 2009

fig. 1 View from "The art comes out in the town" at Shibakawa foundry, photo by the author

fig. 2 View from "The art comes out in the town" at Shibakawa foundry, photo by the author

    Exhibits are displayed using accumulated molds and old balustrades [fig. 1]. Looking at the back of the room through the spaces found in each creation, we notice various kinds of things piled up randomly [fig. 2]. These exhibits are illuminated with two spotlights attached to the ceiling, which is far higher than that of usual museums. In addition, the soft sunlight is coming into the space here through the windows of the building. On the walls, there are several holes which sometimes contribute to strengthening the sunlight shining onto parts of the works. I’m not sure how long this space has been used, but all the things installed there have become rusty and oil has leaked into them. Indeed, once having got inside of the space, we may not notice this, but looking inside the building from the outside, we find there are something floating around in the air like glittering like iron powders or dust.

    This time Yuichiro Sato showed his creations at the foundry located in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture [fig. 3]. The venue of this exhibition, The Shibakawa Foundry was established ninety years ago and is still fully operational. This exhibition is said to have been held under the concept of providing an opportunity to think about “creation” through two events, namely, an art exhibition and a symposium in Kawaguchi City Art Gallery ATLIA (28 Nov 2009) as part of the cultural program entitled “The art comes out in the town – Art exhibition in foundry x Symposium in ATLIA” organized by Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture and SMF (Saitama Muse Forum) Art Circle Executive Committee. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the details of the symposium since I did not participate in it, but the overall aims of this exhibition can be said to be have all the characteristics of the many recent government-led projects with the aim of “economically developing the area with art”. In fact, Sato was born in Yamagata Prefecture, but now lives in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, and carries out his artistic activities there. Thus, in this exhibition, he is considered an artist associated with the venue.

fig. 4 View from "The art comes out in the town" at Shibakawa foundry, photo by the author

fig. 3 View from the outside of "The art comes out in the town" at Shibakawa foundry, photo by the author

    The Shibukawa Foundry gives us an intense impression. Its image is not that of a dust-free clean space, but as I have commented above, something dirty, a place where you can found a lot of rust, smears of oil, dust and iron powders. (Of course, a foundry is the same as a factory, so this is not particulary surprising). In this way the foundry has its own strength and beauty. In fact, such an overwhelming impression of the current figure of the Shibukawa Foundry, created over its long history, in addition to people’s activities, may not always be favorably accepted by people. Nonetheless, it is not impossible to express its image using the adjective “beautiful”. This would be the reason Sato selected three creations to be shown in this exhibition not from his recent neat pieces, but from the past works giving us a tough image [fig. 4]. He displayed “underground steam” (panel/veneer/soil/sand/pigment/mineral pigment/iron powder, 270cm×720cm, 2005) [fig. 5] in front of the viewers, “ground of non-formation 062” (panel/soil/sand/pigment/iron  powder, 227cm×580cm, 2006) [fig. 6] on their right, and “ground of non-formation 061” (panel/canvas/soil/sand/pigment/mineral pigment/cardboard/paper, 250cm×644cm, 2006) on their left. Asperities or cracks can be found on the surface of the exhibits. In “ground of non-formation 061”, cardboard plays an important role as a component of its picture plane. In addition, the surface of the work entitled “underground steam” was made in the shape like that of snakes or roots of plants. The picture plane seems to have been made to remove its “blank spaces”. All the above-mentioned three works leave a dynamic impression due to the texture of painting tools or wood used to create them. Furthermore, a characteristic of these exhibits is that the brownish-red color used contributes to intensely evoking us an image of the earth or the underground.

fig. 6 "ground of non-formation 062"; panel/soil/sand/pigment/iron powder, 227cm×580cm, 2006, photo by the author

fig. 5 "underground steam"; panel/veneer/soil/sand/pigment/mineral pigment/iron powder, 270cm×720cm, 2005, photo by the author

    What was interesting about these works was that they were surprisingly harmonized with the exhibition space, despite their having been made previously and not newly created to be presented in this exhibition. We often hear the phrases, that a creation ‘gets defeated’ by the exhibition space or ‘prevails’ over it. However, Sato’s exhibits shown this time neither lost nor won against the display space. The creations and the exhibition space took advantage of each other without any negative sense. This would be partly because Sato utilized things originally installed in the space (some of them were brought from the outside of the space) without adding any materials there. In this way, Sato’s creations were displayed at a relatively high position by having been put on molds, and as a result, came to enclose the viewers and created a new space within the factory. Then, what appeared in front of us was a solemn space which could also be said to be religious. Here again, the exhibition site was only a rough and old factory and was neither an existing religious facility, such as a temple, shrine or church, nor a museum or gallery deliberately designed to be used for effectively showing creations to viewers. Despite this, the broadness of Sato’s works matched well with the site and they extracted something like the past time and even memories of people who had gathered there. It is difficult to clearly describe this kind of sense with words. Sato’s creations existed there as the kind of things I have mentioned above. What I sincerely wish to write down here is only one fact: I felt his works were just beautiful.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Last Updated on October 24 2015

Editor's Note by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA

"The art comes out in the town: Art exhibition in foundry x Symposium in ATLIA" is a cultural business by executive committee sponsoring by SMF Art Wa! of Kawaguchi city, Saitama Prefecture. This aims at providing a chance to think about "Creation" by the double feature of an art exhibition and a symposium. I had a chance to see the art exhibition held at a casting factory, though I missed participating in the symposium (November 28, 2009). The exhibiting artist is a painter, Yuichiro Sato who is an artist energetically announcing masterpieces as seen in the participation of "META II" exhibition and the solo show in gallery 58. He lives and produces works in the Kawaguchi city now though comes from Yamagata. The venue of this exhibition, Shibakawa casting is a factory that was founded 90 years ago and is still fully operated. It is in this factory that three of Sato's existing works have been exhibited. This exhibition shows an effort to have rearranged the metal molds which had casually been placed, and enthusiastically attempted to put the work on them. To be surprised in above all, is that the work harmonized with the air of the place. The smell and the color of the soaking oil provided by the time passage, and Sato’s works which were intentionally produced as deviating from the beautiful screen itself.; the two elements were synchronized and produced a beautiful spectacle. I will report the details in a review with photographs later. However, I want you to visit and experience the exhibition as much as possible.

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