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Kodama Gallery Kyoto
67-2 Yanaginoshita Higashikujo,
Kyoto, 601-8025 Japan   map * 
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Have a Good Appetite
by Kodama Gallery Kyoto
Location: Kodama Gallery Kyoto
Artist(s): Yasuke TANINAKA
Date: 6 Sep - 11 Oct 2014

Kodama Gallery / Kyoto is pleased to announce the opening of the Yusuke Taninaka’s solo exhibition as above. So far we have been presenting Taninaka’s works in group exhibitions such as ignore your perspective 20 “NOT A TOTAL WASTE (2014, Kyoto)” and ignore your perspective 25 “JUST THE WAY IT IS (2014, Tokyo)”. Though Taninaka has been well-received with his solo exhibition “Galatea” at Kyoto City University of Arts Gallery @KCUA and the award winning work of art award Tokyo marunouchi 2014, this will be the first solo exhibition in our gallery. Using stone and wood, he mainly creates large-scaled and massive sculptures or installation works, and there are generally two concepts when he works. One is “reversibility of the sense and human body” and another is “measurement of the distance”.

Firstly, as for the “reversibility of the sense and human body”, when Taninaka touches stone or wood to create his works, he obtains the ambiguity because he is the subject who “touches” stone while he is the object who “is touched” by stone. This ambiguity can be seen significantly in his latest work “Galatea” shown at @KCUA. A new work that he digs down further into this concept also plays an important role in this exhibition. In the process of creating “Galatea”, clinging to and climbing lumber, he carves the shape of his body moving in the lumber. So, carving enables the active movement of clinging onto lumber to be replaced by the passive condition as being embraced by his own shape carved in lumber. This reversibility is not just a replacement of the subject, for Taninaka, it is the phenomenon with such reality as losing the flesh as borders with others and transferring his own feelings to others. The outer skin should separate the human body from the outside world, therefore, to touch someone means to contact with others at a zero-distance. But, for Taninaka, who feels “his body and tools, or material respond each other and become integrated and then apart under the extremely concentrated conditions”, the act of touching is not a mere contact at a zero-distance. He says that there is a moment he can perceive any information such as the hardness, mass, density, or nature of the material through his hands that touched them and he feels as if he and the material have been replaced or merged each other. As Taninaka expressed, “The vanished body” exists over my work and me”, the sense and bodily feelings, and the flesh of his and material are reversed as if they are tangling each other. A French philosopher, Merleau-Ponty once referred to reversibility/ambiguity of the object based on the concept called “chiasm”. Taninaka attempts to sculpturize the phenomenon at the experiencing level.

Secondly, “measurement of the distance” is for Taninaka to perceive the distance between himself and the motif, although called distance, it indicates not just a numerical distance such as some meters, but more experiencing sense of distance. By “touching”, he uses his own body as a measure to try to grasp the size of the object or the distance to the object, if it is within his reach or too far to touch. “Touching” here is not the question of whether he practically touches the object or not. For example, if he sees the mountains some kilometer distance away from where he is right now, he replace the ridge line with the sense of touch by “eye”. If what you call sculpture is creation which reproduces “character” by observing motif from every angle or sometimes by touching, what he aims to is an attempt to represent the distance from “the object” as the creation. When you try to depict mountains out of reach as sculpture, you should touch the mountain line in fact and seize the “character” of it somehow by keeping physical distance to the mountain far beyond, or recall the character in your hands one way or another. Therefore, relying on the visible information or the feel of branch and rock in the memory, he kneads the oil clay instead of actually touching the mountain line by gazing the top of tree or the surface of rock which are supposed to exist between him and the mountains. In the process of sending the sense of touch directly to the clay and molding, a “phenomenon” as “a distant mountain line” itself becomes possible to be carved, that is to say, he realize the distance to the mountain line as the object. The ceramic installation work “Vibration of Ridge Line” in the exhibition “NOT A TOTAL WASTE (Kodama Gallery/Kyoto)” was exactly the work which went beyond the distance out of reach, and realized the “character” to represent as the sculpture.

Base on the very sculptorwise act/experience of “touching”, these two concepts enable the sculptures to include all ranges of the distance (it’s the physical/mental distance which exists between the object and the creator, not the distance between the work and the viewers.) “from the closer than zero-distant point” to “the unknowable distance” to the object shown as the sculpture. So, the viewers should face the work straight ahead anyway and look at the trace of the experience which surpasses Taninaka’s sensuous/physical distance or border to relive it. “Galatea” is a name of the woman who were given a life from a goddess because the sculptor called Pygmalion in Greek mythology dedicated himself to creating an ideal woman and loved her risking even his life. Like Pygmalion, the reason why Taninaka creates sculpture is because he desires to wipe out the border between the flesh and material and to realize the relationship between the distance and perception. The act of sculpting is the object to such dense “Appetite” for him.

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