We are pleased to present Connect #1, a group exhibition by Japanese artists Satoru Tamura, baanai, and Takuro Tamura at MAKI Gallery / Tennoz, Tokyo. The three artists are from different generations, different regions, and have different ways of expression, but each entrusts a unique message to their works. In this exhibition, we hope the connection between the three artists, the gallery space and the viewers can be experienced, where new values can be discovered.
The artists in this exhibition, Satoru Tamura, baanai, and Takuro Tamura, use completely different materials and forms for their works. Each of them has their own unique perspective on the world, and their works have a certain strength that makes them stand out from the rest. It may have an experimental significance that these three distinctive artists, for the first time, have been brought together for a group show. However, viewing each of the works will make us realize a common thread among them, that the materials and motifs used in their works possess a strong message of their own.
Takuro Tamura, for example, uses asphalt as a material to present the viewer with an image of a paved road which is often associated with 'transportation' or 'movement'. However, when the asphalt is removed from the context of the road, the words and signs typically written begin to give off a different message from its original meaning. In the series Lovers, traffic mirrors play the role of two lovers. Cut off from its usual location of the intersection, they no longer serve their original purpose. Instead, they reflect into each other and seem to have forgotten the dangers that lie beyond. In this way, Takuro Tamura removes objects from their original context and rearranges them to reinterpret the meaning.
baanai, on the other hand, has been painting 'ARIGATOUGOZAIMASU' ('Thank you' in Japanese) on canvases every day. People are often overwhelmed by the cool, objective, yet rampantly grateful attitude of the artist, who casually refers to his own ascetic way of being as an 'experiment'. When we turn our eyes to the canvas, we become aware that what he is drawing is more than a written symbol. Words are a tool for building relationships between people, but baanai transforms the letters into shapes and symbols, separating them from their original role of communication, and amasses them into a multi-layered painting. As the words fill the space, they also play back in the viewer's brain as sound, giving us a multi-layered portrait of the artist. In this way, the connection between the artist, the work and the viewer are dynamically triggered just by the viewer standing in front of the work.
Satoru Tamura incorporates electricity, the energy that powers our society and our lives, into his works. This electricity transforms into light, power, and generates sensors to move his works. In his Point of Contact series, Satoru Tamura focuses on the connection of electricity, highlighting with ironic humor the dangers and the aimless movement that occurs once connection is made. Although the flashing lights and the sound of metals grinding against each other fascinate us and prompt our sensory awareness, soon we recognize that in Satoru Tamura's works, electricity does not fulfill its original significance of social infrastructure, to produce and maintain something, but instead, exist only to activate the work. Electricity, which has lost its context of social infrastructure, is given only the significance of being connected.
The three artists thus focus on materials and motifs, disconnecting them from their original contexts and reinforcing their meanings in their own expressions. In the process of creating works, they repeatedly connect and disconnect to the essence of things, hence the title of this group exhibition, Connect. In addition, the #1 represents the fact that this is the first time all three artists exhibit at MAKI Gallery. We wonder how this 'connection' in the gallery space will affect us all. MAKI Gallery will continue to experiment in this way and hope to make new connections and contacts with Connect #2, #3 and so on. We hope you will enjoy this exhibition, the first in a series of new projects.
Press release courtesy MAKI.