An Adelaide Bank Festival of Arts exhibition
MYRIAM MECHITA, HIROKO OKADA, JIN KURASHIGE, JOAN MOREY
1 – 30 Mar 2006
“No Histories” is an ironic title, for in reality we all stand on the shoulders of others, hoping to extend metaphors and ideas, appropriating where needed and combining ideas or paring them back as we filter them through our own experiences – art isn’t made in a vacuum. Here the title refers to a place held by many contemporary artists not bound by tradition or shackled by an art-historic consciousness. It is also a reference to the fact that the four artists are not known to Australian audiences, with the exception of Joan Morey who exhibited in Australia in 2004, this is their Australian debut. Greenaway Art Gallery has a history of bringing artists from elsewhere to Australia. These four artists slide easily through ideas, philosophies and mediums, free to plunder, invent and demolish with an intelligence that converts the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Myriam Mechita was born in 1974 in Strasbourg, France and lives and works in Paris and Kertzfeld. “Children occasionally care to dismantle their toys, trying to understand their internal workings, to unearth their mystery – provided there is one. “What is it made of and how come I can’t see it?“ I didn’t put this sort of question to Myriam Mechita, and I’m unaware if her approach really works along those lines. However, I like to think it does, since she believes knowledge is tributary of precisely this: taking apart, unravelling the core, laying bare the primary element from which everything else was constructed, or on which everything else rests. The foundation or keystone.
While in Dutch (historic) painting, the accumulation of objects in the image merely speaks of their use value, Myriam Mechita wants every stone in the edifice to acquire the value of an object proper, enabling a potential circulation from one to the other so as to assert the inner workings and the effort that brought forth the construction. No magic, just changes in scale – from detail to overview.
If there is magic , it is enshrined in the viewer’s perception and his/her longing for illusion. The constituting principle of Myriam Mechita’s approach is that her drawings are constructed from discontinued lines, her wallpapers are made of thousands of patiently embroidered sequins, and her sculptures consist of encrusted pearls. Mass and matter are each time cast back onto the duplicated element that forms them.Exposing each particle, along with every movement required in its articulation with the following, enhances the evidence of the proposed – mostly original rather than primary – forms and their brutal strength.
Mechita often stages antagonist forces: animal fights, a laser ray requiring the presence of fog to visualise the shape it sketches, or shadows and light; for instance, when she draws a skull by way of its shadows, visualising the invisible. Yet this movement is hardly ever fluid, and at best contradictory. Both Mechita’s iconography and practice invariably display an insurmountable violence at work, a state of irresolution, which we are doomed to come up against eventually. Activities, which may otherwise be associated with laziness, like embroidering or assembling pearls, , carried out almost unconsciously, take on a wholly different meaning in Mechita’s works. Mainly because the desire to finish the work, to complete this meticulous – and at times boring – task is palpable, one clearly distinguishes the artist’s commitment to time and effort. The work doesn’t come forth naturally – like a tree growing –, and every dot, every pixel is arduous proof of and declared longing for this circumstance. Failure to understand also means being incapable of assembling what is scattered and stumbling over every part that forms it.”
Excerpt from “Slow Light” - Sandra Cattini, March 2005. Translation: Boris Kremer
Hiroko Okada was born in 1970, and graduated from Tama Art University in 1993. Okada finds her material and creates works that are based on her own experiences such as love, marriage, childbirth and child rising. Her proceeding distinct excellent works that are fiction yet carries some degree of reality is receiving support from many people.
In addition, “People with disturbed (or unbalanced) mind“ having various sense of loss like having communication problem, was then able to communicate but no longer can or keep having miscommunication…is becoming important theme and motif in her work. Nonetheless such people all have hardiness of spoofing their disturbed mental part as if they want to say: Man continues to lose things as long as they live and basically we’re alone. But even so I’ll stubbornly live. She used to express with painting but recently she has moved the way to video and made two video works. One of the works, “The Delivery of Male Project”: a video piece about a male monogenetic reproduction was based on her own experience of childbirth has made so great an impact. It is a masterwork that referred to the state-of-the-art medical technology, and shows the way of beinga family and also another way of delivery in the fiction style. And the new video work, “Singin’ in the pain”, that captures last few hours of some ordinary housewife who suddenly goes mad. This work is comprised in a way where a tabloid TV reporter track down a lead on the mystery of “why did this housewife (who seemed to have no difficulty in her life) took her own life?”
If the former is a presentation to people in the next generation, this video tells cruel reality in the present. Solitude, struggle and madness of housewives that arise within half illusionary framework of what they consider as common sense are difficult for those around them to even imagine. Okada appeals to us with humorous expressions how people survive in isolation. With laughing? With having fun? With keeping saddened?
Joan Morey was born in 1972 in Mallorca, Spain and lives and works in Barcelona. “NUEVA OLA o Desencert” is a project by Joan Morey, presented in the Espai ZERO1 in Olot and produced at Hangar in 2004. It functions as a video installation expanded toward other territories, at once both adjacent and distant, through the recombination of its elements. For its presentation by Hangar in the Cúpula de Venus the artist has spliced together the links of a 93-minute video with the original soundtrack from Jean-Luc Godard’s film Nouvelle Vague, the short version with subtitles, an installation, a staging, a performance, a poster and a mîse-en-scène in order to construct and reconstruct a complex chain of signifiers that could be defined as the attitude to the fetish of the new.
At the same time the project alludes to the transmission of units of information and cultural encoding and the problems posed by the modifications that derive from this ‘transfer’. Every formalization responds to the crystallizations of a moment, and every translation to another time and another place implies changes and adjustments that can effectively adulterate and transform the originating ideas. This is what happens with the references at work here, in that NUEVA OLA oDesencert starts from the French Nouvelle vague of the 50s and continues with the New Wave in 70s Britain and North-American. The two terms and the two positions use a common terminology, and both clearly posit the need for renewal and innovation, but inevitably the spatial and temporal shift makes it necessary to betray the tradition through a play of illusions that is both momentary and necessary.
Excerpt from “New Wave and New Fetish” - Manuel Olveira
Jin Kurashige was born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1975, and graduated from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Marseille, France, D.N.S.E.P. in 2003. He currently lives and works in France, producing works mainly in video and installation. He will participate in the first Torino Triennale “The Pantagruel Syndrome” in Italy, November 2005.
Bodies of Kurashige’s works are “faithfully created by his interest of particular moment” by capturing the overflowing information that surrounds us with his unique antenna. These various ways of his expression such as photographs and videos, may seem at random at first, yet there is a consistency in questioning the boundary between real and virtual through out his works. Moreover with a great sense of humor he always provide us with a new impact reminding us how we are becoming accustomed to virtual things that are so abound in our everyday lives and questions whether there is any truth in our chaotic society and daily lives. It is very unique to Kurashige who somehow went to Europe searching for something interesting and strolled into the world of art. The process of his creation never follows his intention, though he maximizes the use of anything which is gained by chance. The viewers can not help expecting what happens next with his works.