Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery

Will Happiness Find Me?

19 Apr - 29 Jun 2014

© Mircea Cantor
I decided not to save the world, 2011
Courtesy the artist and Yvon Lambert, P
© Omer Fast
Continuity, 2012
Courtesy the artist, gb agency, Paris, Arratia, Beer, Berlin, Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv
image: Philip Wölke
Peter Fischli
Untitled, 1981-2001
Installation view at the Venice Biennale, 2003
© Peter Fischli David Weiss, Zürich 2014, Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich
Ryan Gander
Magnus Opus, 2013
© Ryan Gander, Courtesy the artist and TARO NASU
photo: Martin Argyroglo
Liam Gillick
theanyspacewhatever, 2004
© Liam Gillick, Courtesy the artist and TARO NASU
photo: KIOKU Keizo
Pierre Huyghe
A Way in Untilled, 2012/2013
© Pierre Huyghe, Courtesy the artist, Esther Schipper, Berlin, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris
© Koizumi Meiro
My Voice Would Reach You (single screen version)
Courtesy Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterd
© Glenn Ligon
Stranger #67, 2012
photo: Ron Amstutz
© Shimabuku
How do you accept something you don't understand?, 2006/2008
Courtesy the artist, Berlin
photo: Shimabuku
© Danh Vo
Lot 20. Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs
photo: Danh Vo
10 Artists from the Ishikawa Collection, Okayama
19 April - 29 June 2014

The powerful, consistent attraction that we feel for art does not always come from visible things such as colours, shapes, or materials. Instead, it surely comes from the various questions posed by the meanings and ideas embodied in a work.

The ten artists presented in the exhibition have their eye on issues emerging from the contemporary society that we live in. The topics addressed by their works are varied, including the city and nature, individual’s identity and how history shapes that identity, and the question of the definition of art. They make it possible to share other people’s individual experience as the viewer on a more profound level. Many of the artists show us how to look at the world especially their daily lives from a different, new perspective.

As we view their works, the questions that these artists pose concerning the world and concerning art are eventually transformed into our own personal questions.

This exhibition showcases ten artists - Mircea Cantor, Omer Fast, Peter Fischli David Weiss, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Koizumi Meiro, Glenn Ligon, Shimabuku, Danh Vo - selected from the Ishikawa Collection, Okayama, which is notable for its large number of conceptual works.

Mircea Cantor (1977- )
Mircea Cantor works in an apparently infinite variety of media, including photography, sculpture, installation, and film. At “Yokohama Triennale 2011” he exhibited Tracking Happiness, a video work featuring women walking in a circle on white sand, each holding a broom and brushing away the traces of the footsteps left by the woman in front. It seems humorous, but is also ironical, and disturbs viewers’ minds. I decided not to save the world is another video work, with the artist’s son repeating the words of the title in English over and over. The contrast between the innocent delight of the young child pronouncing a phrase that he does not understand and the seriousness of the phrase’s actual meaning conveys a sense of the complexity of the issues that beset our world.

Omer Fast (1972- )
Omer Fast produces video works with a powerful story element, using filmmaking techniques. These include approaches such as cutting up a video and recombining it, or using a number of cameras to give simultaneous views of different aspects, challenging viewers to think about how an individual’s experiences, memories, and history are produced. Continuity depicts a German couple welcoming their son back from active service, taking him home, and sharing a meal together. This narrative plays out several times, but there is a different person as the son on each occasion. This was a hit at “dOCUMENTA (13),” the 2012 edition of the five-yearly international art festival in Kassel, Germany. The title refers to “continuity” in the filmmaking sense as well its standard meaning.

Peter Fischli(1952-) David Weiss (1946-2012)
Peter Fischli and David Weiss began collaborating in 1979, based in Zurich. They are known for dressing up in Rat and Bear costumes, and producing works that show up the absurdities of human society. Weaving humor and irony into an everyday viewpoint, they challenge newly emerging meanings and values. Untitled utilizes 15 slide projectors to display questions at random on the gallery walls in four different languages—Japanese, German, English, and Italian. Ranging from casual, everyday mutterings to philosophical questions that touch on the essence of life, the questions disappear as quickly as they came, before the viewer has chance to formulate a response.

Ryan Gander (1976- )
Ryan Gander deeply explores seemingly trifling everyday events, bringing them together in unexpected combinations that produce aberrations, which encourage the imagination to focus on hidden meanings. Magnus Opus takes its title from a Latin phrase meaning a masterpiece or major work. Eyes and eyebrows driven by movement sensors intently follow the movements of viewers as they examine the works in the gallery. This has the effect of reversing the roles of work and viewer, posing questions concerning the relationship between work and viewer in the context of an art museum.

Liam Gillick (1964- )
Liam Gillick is known for 3-dimensional works reminiscent of 1960s Minimal art, and for abstract text that takes up a whole wall. He was one of the YBAs (Young British Artists) who were a hit in the 1990s. At the base of all of his work is an interest in how art affects people, and is one of the best known exponents of Relational art (art expressing the relation between things or between people). Inspired by the “any-space-whatever” concept put forward by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze in Cinema 1, Gillick produced the title work of a 2008 group exhibition “theanyspacewhatever” at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. The phrase “The anyspace whatever...” now fills a wall in the Opera City Art Gallery.

Pierre Huyghe (1962- )
Born in Paris, Lives in Paris and New York. Pierre Huyghe’s work traverses a range of genres including video, music, architecture, and design, with re-examination of art and of the exhibition as a recurring theme. For Untilled (2011-12), at documenta 13 (Kassel, Germany, 2012), he created a “site” in Karlsaue Park that comprised an original biotope including a variety of living entities. That world blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality. It included a dog with a pink leg, a marble nude with a beehive as a head, an anthill, water creatures, and other life forms going about their daily business, dying and producing new life. A video work that can be considered a record of that project is presented in this exhibition as A Way in Untilled.

Koizumi Meiro (1976- )
Koizumi Meiro is internationally acclaimed for works that address issues such as people’s memories and trauma through his insights into human psychology. My Voice Would Reach You is a video work following a young man as he telephones his mother. At first the scene seems to be a glance into urban life, but in the second half of the video, the scene is repeated with the addition of the voice at the other end of the call, revealing something that leaves viewers perplexed. By providing evidence of miscommunication and of how easy it is for human emotions to be manipulated, this work cleverly breaks down the pre-established harmony created by viewers’ emotional investment in the work.

Shimabuku (1969- )
Born in Hyogo, Japan and lives in Berlin. Shimabuku is active worldwide, carrying out projects that involve encounters with and communication with people and cultures specific to particular locations. These projects include the production of works in genres including photography, video, and installation. How do you accept something you don’t understand? is a video work featuring German students singing songs in Japanese that they do not understand at all. The title of this work represents an ongoing theme for Shimabuku, addressing the issue of how to approach art today, and representing a question for us all.

Danh Vo (1975- )
Danh Vo has attracted attention for works that radically reflect the scars of colonialism and his own origins as one of the Vietnamese boat people. This series incorporates items left by President Kennedy and other decision-makers involved in the U.S. intervention in Vietnam, and a chandelier from the venue where the Peace Accords were signed in 1973. These were acquired at auction, and are exhibited either in their original form, or dismantled. In Vo’s hands, these fragments of history raise issues of politics and cultural identity for humanity as a whole, transformed into a work on a magnificent scale.

Tags: Mircea Cantor, Omer Fast, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Glenn Ligon, Shimabuku, Danh Vo, Fischli & Weiss