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Posts Tagged ‘Tatsumi Orimoto’

Thai installation artist Surasi Kulsowong promises Good News at Para/Site Hong Kong – review

Posted by artradar on June 11, 2009


Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya shows visitors around at Surasi Kulsowong's Golden Fortune show

Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya shows visitors around at Surasi Kulsowong's Golden Fortune show

THAI ARTIST SHOW REVIEW

Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, as new curator for the well-regarded Hong Kong non-profit Para/Site art space, explained his mission for the space in January 2009 to Claire Morin for Time Out:

“I want to refocus Para/Site … with more artists from Asia,” he says. “I also want Para/Site to become a social space, a space where things are actually happening, not just exhibited… I want the public to appropriate Para/Site and become a part of Para/Site.”

Since then he has made firm headway. In January 2009, to the amuseument and confusion of locals, the eccentric Japanese performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto, aka Bread Man, was guided around Hong Kong’s Graham Street market with baguettes wrapped around his head. This performance was followed by a rendition of his Finger Dolls piece inspired by his relationship with his supportive but now aged Mother (click here Tatsumi Orimoto review and video clips).

With his latest show, Fominaya has initiated an even more bemusing and irresistible experience for neighbourhood residents. In his first solo show in Hong Kong, Thai artist Surasi Kulsowong presents a site-specific show which seems to lie somewhere at the intersection between an exhibition, an experience and a grand game.

According to the publicity material the gallery is transformed into a playground by being filled

with five tons of thread waste into which a gold necklace with the Chinese word for ‘Fortune’ is hidden each week and made available to lucky members of the audience who find it.

When we visit, the feather-soft cotton waste laid out thicker than a mattress looks so inviting that we do not waste a minute in kicking off our shoes and wading into it. Not only pleasurable as a sensual experience, the show tickles the intellect with its playful turning-upside-down of the usual notions of money, gold, waste and value.

We are invited to consider whether waste products might have more value than first meets the eye. We are teased into questioning the meaning of value which, in this show, extends beyond measurable monetary value to include sensory stimulation, new experiences, social connection and plenty of laughter.

When we visit the show we see a young child who rolls around giggling on her back while her Filipino nanny chuckles and rummages on her hands and knees. The previous week the hidden gold was discovered by an elderly gentleman who is a patient in the neighbouring hospital. He came in his pyjamas with his nurse and told the staff that he planned to give the gold to his daughter. 

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Good News is Coming

Alluring to a group of people far beyond seasoned gallery-goers, the show is full of wonder, fun and reward.  Yes  “it  can be appreciated on many levels” confirms Fominaya as he shows us some of the wall-hung images made to accompany the show.

In one, a Fortune magazine cover is recreated and a headline “Good News is Coming”, from another financial article, is appropriated and pasted onto it. What does this mean? On one level, the artist is providing us with a message which, like the cotton under our feet, is soothing and playful. But on another we are roused to consider the extent to which we accept the content and power of the media messages we are exposed to.

Kulsowong’s installation is inspired by the gloom of the global recession which he aims to counter with messages of hope and experiences of  happiness. Leaving with soothed soles and a smile, we take away much more than that. The Fortune cover and the heap of textile waste prod us with powerful questions about what we can do to create our own messages of hope.

Surasi Kulsowong

Surasi Kulsowong

The exhibition is accompanied by a specially conceived art edition called Good News is Coming (With Warhol’s Flowers), 2009, the proceeds of which will fund Para/Site’s activities. Contact Para/Site to buy.

Artist details

Surasi Kulsowong was born in 1965 in Ayutthaya. He lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand.

He is best known for his One Dollar Markets in which the artist, inspired by Asian floating markets, creates a market within an art space to reflect on the nature of consumer society and expand the meaning of the art space.

He has exhibited internationally with solo shows in Tate Modern and Palais de Tokyo. He has participated in the Gwangju Biennial, 50th Venice Biennale, 2nd Guangzhou Triennial, amongst others.

Related links:

Frieze review 2004 of  work 10SEK  – the writer notes the disarming way that Kulsowong cuts through social reserve by playing with money as a notion and a physical object.

New York Times review 2001 – looks at how Surasi uses space in his installation in Chelsea at his New York debut

Culturebase article – more details about his market artworks

Para/Site website

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Posted in Art spaces, China, Connecting Asia to itself, Curators, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Installation, Nonprofit, Participatory, Recession, Thai, Thread | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ARCO Madrid 2009 international art fair news round-up – galleries drop out, public funding prop, Indian art

Posted by artradar on February 12, 2009


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INTERNATIONAL ART FAIRS

ARCO Madrid, one of the largest and most important international art fairs holds its 28th edition from 11 February to 16 February 2009  in a new location:  Halls 6, 8 & 10 at Feria de Madrid, Spain. 238 galleries from 32 countries are participating.

Financial downturn hits art worldBBC – 16 Feb 209 – video clip – An insubstantial very brief video story about how the crisis is affecting the art fair: some artists are using the crisis as inspiration for their art: interview with art fair director Lourdes Fernandez who says it is more difficult for some dealers this year.

Dealers reported mixed results at Spain’s monster contemporary art fair ArcoFinancial Times – 14 Feb 2009 – Georgina Adam reports that Spanish museums budgets have melted and prices of artworks have been reduced. Artists attracting interest/buyers included Georg Baselitz, Amaya Gonzalez Reyes, Eugenio Merino’s take off of Damien Hirst ‘For The Love of Gold’.

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Click to buy

Arco Beep New Media Art Award  – We Make Money Not Art  – 13 Feb 2009 – Post written by a member of the jury about the award, the entries and the winner. The award was won by Ubermorgen.com for its EKMRZ Trilogy, a fascinating triptych about the three kings of ecommerce Google, Amazon and ebay. The Google art work ‘Google will eat itself’ involves the artists raising money with google text ads and using the money to buy Google shares.

Panorama India Artslant provides a list of artists and galleries from India, Arco’s special guest country 2009.

Tatsumi Orimoto performs Punishment at Arco 2009 video – Vernissage TV

Hirst statue stars at Madrid show as dealers aim to defy slumpBloomberg – 13 Feb 2009 – A Florida collector bought Merino’s sculpture of Hirst committing suicide “Hirst is always trying to think of ways to make his art the most expensive. If he killed himself, then the value of his art would increase a lot.” Despite India being guest country only 13 galleries from there. US galleries dropped from 26 last year to 7 this year. Plenty of bargains. Russian GMG Gallery sold 2 photographs by Anatoly Zhuravlev to a prominent Swiss collector of Chinese art.

Image carousel Telegraph – 19 images of artists: Isaac Montoya, Filomena Soares, Jose Batista Marques, Enrique Marty, Madeleine Berkhemer, Vivek Vilasini  (India), Jitish Kallat (India), Valay Shende, Eugenio Merino, Yi Hwan-Kon, Samuel Salcedo, Bernardi Roig.

Indian art draws Europeans IANS via Zee News – 13 Feb 2009 – New trend in Indian art away from works on canvas towards installation and new media apparent in gallery shows and  Panorama, the show of Indian art curated by Bose Krishnamachari. Dayanita Singh in solo show, Shilpa Gupta work finds European buyer.

Gloom at major European art fair as boom in sales seen over  – AFP  – 12 Feb 2009 – This is a prediction story about the mood prior to the event. Galleries predict  limited cash, prices down 25% for contemporary art, buyers will take time over purchases. Artist view: lower prices an opportunity for young. Includes image carousel.

Arco Madrid 2009 opens – calm forecast  – Art Daily – 12 Feb 2009 – This is a facts piece with a promotional tone. It covers details of the move to the new location and the fair’s programmes and projects: India is showcased, three curated shows cover performance art, contemporary art and technology in art, there is a list of talk forums by experts and a description of the section showcasing capsule collections from private museums.

Recession triggers improvement in Indian art qualitySindhToday via IANS – 11 February 2009 – This is a views piece about how the collector base for Indian art is changing and broadening particularly in Europe and is based on interviews with Bose Krishnamachari curator of the special Indian Panorama section and Peter Nagy of Nature Morte, an exhibitor.

Fine Art Publicity - click to buy

Fine Art Publicity - click to buy

Galleries drop out of ARCOArtinfo – 5 Feb 2009 – Edited version of Der Standard story below.

ARCO hit by crisis– Artforum via APAvia Der Standard – 3 Feb 2009 – 20 galleries of 270 cancelled – dropouts include 2 from South America, one from Spain and Lisson Gallery London. Portugese Ministry of Culture provided funding to prevent more.

Related links: ARCO website

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Posted in Acquisitions, Bose Krishnamachari, Collectors, Dayanita Singh, Electronic art, Fairs, Indian, Interactive art, Madrid, Market watch, New Media, Participatory, Shilpa Gupta, Spain, Virtual | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review of Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto’s performance Finger Dolls in Hong Kong

Posted by artradar on January 23, 2009


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Tatsumi Orimoto Breadman son + Alzheimer Mama 1996

JAPANESE PERFORMANCE ART REVIEW

Inside a cramped art space off a small side road at the wrong end of  Hong Kong’s gallery street Hollywood Road, the great performance artist Tatsumi Orimoto bows, his chin-length grizzled hair falling forward. “That’s it” he laughs as he straightens up. “It is four o’clock….my medicine time”. On cue a gallery assistant brings the artist a beer and a stool to sit on as the handful of viewers applaud, laugh and jostle closer to claim his offer of an autograph on a free ‘Breadman’ poster.

Tatsumi Orimoto, also known as  ‘Breadman’ for his world-famous performances in which he wears French baguettes twined to his face, has just completed his half hour performance piece ‘Finger Dolls’ and a lecture. The latter turns out to be a recount of his life’s work salted with comical asides and has been described by Para/Site Art Space’s new curator, Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya, as a ‘performance in itelf’. Spaniard Alvaro brings Orimoto to Hong Kong as part of an overall plan for his new role described to Time Out writer Claire Morin. “I want to refocus Para/Site … with more artists from Asia,” he says. “I also want Para/Site to become a social space, a space where things are actually happening, not just exhibited… I want the public to appropriate Para/Site and become a part of Para/Site.”  Arimoto’s quirky performance and engaging lecture are two sure steps towards that vision.

Tatsumi Orimoto Finger Dolls Hong Kong 2008

Tatsumi Orimoto Finger Dolls Hong Kong 2008

Short in stature and dressed in a strange semi-formal ensemble of green tie and waistcoat, Orimoto begins the Finger Dolls piece by wheeling an old bag across the floor and then slowly and deliberately opening and removing from it crumpled plastic carrier bags bearing the names of Japanese stores. These in turn are opened and small grubby dolls – mostly babies – are taken out and either hung around his neck or laid carefully in a semi-circle around him on the floor. The deliberate repetition of movements is puzzling: why this heaviness?  But then we notice one of the dolls has been given a cane and marked with pen-made facial wrinkles, a clue to the meaning behind this work. As Orimoto explains later in his lecture, “They are all Mama” .

Sixty- two year old Orimoto feels a special duty to care for his mother because of the part she has played in his long hard road to art success. Although he  is now a leading name in the global performance art scene, having performed with legendary video artist Nam June Paik and received spectacular reviews at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, this was not always the case.

The Bread Man was born in Kawasaki outside Tokyo to a working class, poor family and began drawing when he was ten. While his mother encouraged him, buying supplies and the latest art magazines for him, his father  a heavy drinker disapproved. As a teenager he began painting with oils which made his father fly into ‘ugly’ rages because he did not like the smell. Dealing with these experiences caused Orimoto to develop a resilience which enabled him to carry on in the face of prolonged rejection by the art establishment later in his life. “Even after I was asked to perform for the Queen of Spain, the Japanese establishment still didn’t want me” Orimoto grins to his Hong Kong audience, ” I don’t care. I call myself International Orimoto”.

But everyone needs a supporter according to Orimoto. “For me my Mama is like Van Gogh’s brother Theodore”.  When he applied to the most-respected art university in Japan, the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music  he was rejected year after year. His father pressed him to get a job but his mother supported his move to New York in the 1960s where he discovered performance art – “there was no performance art in Japan, ah I am so lucky, I saw the early peformance art in New York, I saw people like Joseph Beuys. Soho was exciting, artists came from around the world”.

Helping him financially she worked until she was 75 years old and supported him again when he set out to travel around dozens of countries where he held impromptu performances in unexpected places.  “Art is not only white space gallery, it is also public places, railways stations and restaurants. It is a very important thing”.

Later in his Finger Dolls piece he carefully produces from yet another old bag  a used box and from this, ponderously, in the manner of the elderly he brings forth bizarre mini-heads sculpted from papier mache and odds and ends. Each is individually crafted with its own quirky features (lurid pink eyes , green bobble hair) and treated with tenderness and the special focus only a ‘Mama’ can give.  Cautiously, protectively each puppet is laid on the ground before being donned on Orimoto’s stubby fingers and displayed to the audience during a purposeful unhurried walk around the room. As the piece develops we are increasingly aware of allusions to maternal and filial love and finally we are left in no doubt when Orimoto, rhymically slowly expels the word ‘Mama’ in a series of gravelly gasps.

Today his mother is a source of inspiration for his art and occasionally a participant in his performances. When his mother developed Alzheimer’s disease Orimoto knew that, as a man without wife and children, he had a duty to return home and care for his mother but this was not an easy step: he felt ambivalent and he worried that he would have to give up his art. But with characteristic creativity and perseverance he has turned this setback to advantage and she has evolved into his muse.

Is the work Finger Dolls about the love of a mother for her child or the filial duty of love and care owed to a mother? Is Orimoto playing the part of a mother or a son? At times the roles seem interchangeable. He is a mother who carries his creations wrapped about his neck and he plays a son who calls for his mother but in an ancient crackly voice.  In turn-and-turn-about fashion, he is now the older and now the younger, the mother and the son all in one. What does his art mean? What is it telling us? Perhaps it does not matter why or what his art is saying. As Monty diPietro says in his review of Orimoto’s first ever museum show in Japan at Hara Museum in 2000 when he was finally given deserved recognition, what matters is the effect Orimoto has on the people who watch him perform.  With a satisfying blend of drama and substance Orimoto’s puzzling, eerie performance work thoroughly engages his Hon g Kong audience –  and thankfully the art establishment now too .

Sources and more reviews

Related categories: performance art, Japanese artists, reports from Hong Kong, reports from Japan

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Posted in Children, China, Gallery shows, Hong Kong, Japanese, Performance, Public art, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »