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Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’ Ocula Conversation Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’

A group of voices accompanies me in the exhibition. They are singing words I cannot comprehend, yet the warm tunes are familiar: folk songs, love songs, songs of longing. There are letters, too. They speak of the quotidian details of a soldier's life: the hardness of the war, sending money to the family, and longing for familiar landscapes, food,...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Tetsuya Ishida

(1973 - 2005), Japan

Born in 1973, Shizuoka Japan, Tetsuya Ishida was a promising young artist living and working in Tokyo until he passed away in 2005.

In most of his works, strains of the Japanese society came up as the result of its economical and technological growth in the 80s and its deep economical depression in the 90s are implied as a main theme. Instead of portraying these issues in an offensive manner, the artist uses himself as a motif to show his personal sympathy to the people in struggle.

Ishida had a usual childhood and was a perfectly adjusted student. However, during high school, his anxieties towards Japanese society and educational system developed. He found it to be an authoritarian and oppressive system as it’s shown in Prisoner (1999) that depicts this period in his life. In this painting, a man’s body is stuck in a school building with no energy to move or even think.

The sarin gas attack that took place at a subway station in Tokyo in 1995 gravely affected the artist and he even mentions it in his journal: 'One characteristic of Japanese psychology is the idea that all the Japanese people understand each other', meaning that all Japanese are expected to think in the same way which may be the cause of an oppressive system. Ishida describes the perpetrator of this crime as: 'A Japanese who was not in sync with everyone else.' Ishida shows his sympathy towards individuals who have isolated themselves because of the pressures of society, as he feels the same.

In Rehabilitation (2003), Ishida paints himself upside down resembling a cocoon hanging from a tree branch. In this painting, the outdoors are brought indoors, a recurring feature of his work. His head is metamorphosed with a wheel on his paintings. Ishida frequently merged his figure with mundane objects such as hangers, microscopes, backpacks and lavatories. Holes on his body give the impression of hollowness. He seems to depict a state of mind, the emptiness of his brain. He is asleep as if to recharge his energy, hence the IV drip attached to his body.

Baggage (1998) portrays bodies of identical men in the shape of boxes. Again, Ishida uses himself as a motif. Ishida objectifies human beings, getting out of a train. Humans are treated as cargos. The artist is depicting the daily life in the big Japanese cities, where the contemporary men have no space to develop their own individuality.

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Current Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future 幽靈維面—電馭叛客在未來之年 at Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong
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5 October 2019–4 January 2020 Group Exhibition Phantom Plane, Cyberpunk in the Year of the Future 幽靈維面—電馭叛客在未來之年 Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong

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Here's the Artist List for the 2015 Venice Biennale Related Press Here's the Artist List for the 2015 Venice Biennale Art News : 6 March 2015

Yes! After months and months of speculation, prayers, and rumors, the Venice Biennale has released the artist list for its 56th edition, “All the World’s Futures,” which is being curated by Okwui Enwezor. At a quick glance, it looks like a thrillingly eclectic list, counting among its participants giants like Bruce Nauman, Adrian...

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