The title of this exhibition is Absent Bodies. There are two chairs at the back of the installation, and while no one is present, there is the feeling that someone could be sitting there. There is absence, but also an existence. The chairs are placed at the end of a tunnel that has been formed where the yarn is less tightly threaded. When people come to see the exhibition they might look through the tunnel and feel like they are looking into the past.
Yes. It is like looking through the memory. You cannot physically go there but you can gain access to these memories.
Yes. No one is there now but someone was there previously. This is the theme of my work. Someone is here and nobody is here. And traces of the person who previously owned and used these objects is present.
I wanted to be a painter but I felt like I couldn’t paint anymore. So I started using string to make three-dimensional lines. For me, it’s making a drawing in the air. I can make lines in space like I would in drawings on paper.
Yes I still draw but I really like yarn as a material. It is soft and I use it like a mirror of my feelings. So when I have a bad feeling, it’s tangled. Yarn has tension like a human relationship. A relationship might be tight but it can be tangled and is connected by feeling. That’s why I use yarn and string in my work.
Red is, of course, the colour of blood, and also in Japan there is a fable that a red string links people though time to their destiny. The legend says that a thin vein connects the heart to the pinky finger. And a red thread then connects from your pinky finger to your future lover. The red string may become tangled, postponing the meeting point, but it can never break. It’s to do with fate and about the strength of human relationships. Other Asian cultures have similar legends.
When I’m making art I’m not strongly thinking about being Japanese. Making art for me is always about looking for my identity. I’m doing this because I feel a need to do so. But of course my Japanese heritage is there in the background.
I collect objects that people use every day, such as keys, so they are connected to human life. The chair is also an everyday object. Boats are not, but the boats I use in A Key in the Hand are the gondolas of Venice, and are therefore connected to an everyday life particular to Venice.
I never use new materials. I use something that someone has used before because it has a story. A memory. The key—it’s kind of a story. I never met the person who used this key or chair, but their memory comes through the object. It is a link to their existence …
It’s also a story. In the tunnel of Absent Bodies there is an implied story. Maybe the two people on the chairs are speaking to each other. And in these books there are real stories. I found them in a shop and I find them very beautiful.
At that time painting for me was just colour on the canvas and I couldn’t connect my life to it. It was very hard to paint. I wanted to find another material that I could call my own. Then I had a chance to come to Australia as an exchange student. I had a dream that I was inside a painting and I began thinking about how I could improve this painting. So from this dream I made a painting and put myself in the work.
For this work, I am making a big house with red string that people can walk through. As the string weaves inside and outside, so people can weave inside and outside of the house. Human beings leave home but always come back. Home is where the heart is.
I think it is nice that it’s moving. People are also moving and it is appropriate that the house is also in different spaces.
That was a good experience. We (the group of students) fasted: just drinking water. There was no eating or speaking for one week. The reason for this was so we could access what is the most important thing inside of us.
It was 5am in the morning and everyone was sleeping. And Marina, she woke me up and gave me a piece of paper and asked me to write one word. Just one word. As I hadn’t eaten anything for one week, everything did not appear clear. But one word was coming and it was ‘Japan’. Maybe I wanted to go home.
It’s not about myself. It’s more global.
Yes emotions and moving and feeling are important. I think it is the job of art to move and change feeling. So to convey a kind of feeling. I think art is primarily about the eye. It is important to see art, and then have feelings, and then see meaning. Not come up with the meaning first. —[O]