MASAHIRO MAKI GALLERY is pleased to present Slice of the universe, a solo exhibition by exonemo, a Japanese artist unit based in New York.
Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaiwa came together to form exonemo in 1996, the year after Windows 95 had been released, when internet culture had begun to permeate society at large. They are one of the first of a generation of artists who were initially active on the internet, and gradually widened the sphere of their activities to real (as opposed to virtual) space. Over the course of the subsequent twenty years, they have remained at the forefront, continuing to present cutting-edge works.
Their works make us aware of the gap between the virtual world of the internet and the real world. Personal computers and the internet have now become commonplace. exonemo reveals the wonder, fun and somewhat frightening aspects of these technologies that have already become part of our brains and our limbs, creating works of art with their own distinct brand of wit and humour.
exonemo describes their exhibition, Slice of the universe, as follows:
On hearing the word 'slice' the first thing that comes to mind has become 'pizza'. Since moving to New York, this has become a particularly familiar word. For both of us, and when we asked our beloved daughter and our friends, 'pizza' was the word most often associated with 'slice'. Looking back at the works we've created as exonemo, there are many that combine the world of information and the physical world. But the borders are getting blurrier. In other words, the cheese is melting and becoming one with the dough. Reflecting on our creations in light of this, as artists who started out in internet art, we have a sense that we've been slicing informational (or material) objects, gazing at the cross-section, or pasting this thin, film-like slice onto a different surface. The etymology of the word, 'universe', comes from the idea that 'everything that exists has been united (versus = turned) into one (unus = one)'. The universe consists of both the world of information and the world of physics, united as one. We cut slices from it. The cross-sections are thereby exposed or hidden, and the mysteries of the world that it's possible for humans to perceive are thereby revealed or hidden. The cheese and dough become one by being heated, and the 'pizza' is completed (shared out or provided) by slicing it. That is, the act drawing the boundaries is precisely what makes the pizza as such. Hmm... we might have talked too much about pizza. But cutting slices is effective as a methodology for understanding the universe, the world itself. The question is, into how many slices should we cut this huge, round pizza? The cheese also melts and melds. Hmm... we might have talked too much about pizza...
exonemo's work has been exhibited at major festivals and museums in Japan, including the Ebisu Film Festival, the NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), the Art Tower Mito, the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, and the MITSUBISHI ESTATE ARTIUM in Fukuoka. In 2019, in addition to the Aichi Triennale, they surprised the world with a project to hijack the website of the Whitney Museum in the U.S. For this solo exhibition, exonemo will create a 'sliced space' within the gallery, featuring both representative works from their oeuvre thus far, as well as new works. We hope that you will experience and enjoy this exhibition, in which what lies hidden in the 'slices' offers us potential moments of realisation.
Press release courtesy MAKI.