Empty Gallery is pleased to present experimental filmmaker Takashi Makino's second solo exhibition with the gallery. Consisting of a single monumental moving-image work installed in Empty Gallery's 18/F project space, Memento Stella represents a feature-length distillation of the formal techniques and thematic preoccupations which have defined Makino's film-making practice to date. Originating from a neologism coined by the artist meaning "remember the stars", the titular film is a metaphorical journey which explores the origin of all concrete phenomena in a formless, undifferentiated field of elemental matter - not unlike the genesis of our stars and planets in swirls of cosmic dust.
As in Cinema Concret (2016), the source material for Makino's film consists of self-shot footage of both nature and civilization, gathered during the course of his constant travels. For Memento Stella, this footage includes imagery captured in locales as diverse as the United States, Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong - lending an important cross-cultural dimension to his artistic statement. Makino renders these familiar representational images formless and oneiric through his deployment of super-imposition, frame-rate manipulation, and multiple exposures - sometimes layering up to two hundred images at once. Through this process, footage of snow and water, foliage and buildings, gradually sheds their function as referents to an external world, transforming into swarms of oscillating particles and shimmering clouds of light.
Memento Stella is a rhythmic and hallucinatory experience, pregnant with aesthetic and formal antinomies to be discovered by the discerning viewer: qualities such as depth and flatness, movement and stasis, plenitude and emptiness exist together in paradoxical union. Immersed in this constantly shifting visual field, the spectator catches glimpses of familiar images advancing and then receding into abstraction. Grasped fleetingly, the movement of these ambiguous images seems to dramatise both the movement of consciousness and the shared material origins of all living things. Makino has spoken previously of the importance of this aleatory process - a constant feature of his recent works - by which the final film is created through the union of the cinematic object and the consciousness of the spectator. The critic Annette Michelson once called cinematic form 'a metaphor for consciousness'. Memento Stella might be said to represent an iconoclastic, spiritualist-idealist take on this fabled thematic of experimental cinema.
The film is accompanied by an electroacoustic score composed by Dutch avant-garde pianist Reinier van Houdt.
Press release courtesy Empty Gallery.