Drawings on newspaper

 

Group Exhibition - Listen to the Sound of the Earth Turning: Our Wellbeing since the Pandemic- / 2022 / 

Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan

"This reminds me of the blacked-out textbooks of the postwar period. But your blackout is so beautiful. It's like I can see a new story."

These were the words of an elderly man who came to see my exhibition.

At the time, the issue of falsification of official documents was a major social problem in Japan, and images of blacked-out official documents were featured in various media every day. I wondered what he thought, now that more than 70 years had passed and he was seeing the blacked-out image in a different form. And at the same time, I felt as if I saw 70 years of time through him. He seemed like a vessel of time.

This episode reveals the core of my work. First of all, I would like to talk about the act of "erasing". When I imagined the situation of invisibility, two images came to mind: one was how to make an image invisible by turning off the lights, for example, and the other was how to make it invisible by shining a blindingly excessive amount of light on it. If the former represents a simple act of deletion, such as a cover-up by those in power, the latter may represent a problem, such as fake news caused by a society with too much information.

But for me, the act of erasing was a fresh experience, like being freed from something. What emerged from this sensation, apart from social issues such as the concealment of facts, was a larger theme: the conflict between the individual's sense of time and the flow of time in society, as symbolised by the story with the old man. In his mind, the memory of post-war textbooks is still vivid. People remember events, especially those deeply related to their personal identity and life, as if they happened yesterday, and they live with the past in the present. On the other hand, the state of time in modern society is a one-way flow of past, present and future. We are living in the midst of this flow, and it is only getting faster. I felt that this is what is making life difficult and suffocating for individuals.

I erase newspaper articles slowly as if chewing them over. As I read, I carefully select words and images and erase them as if to shine a small light on them. Basically, the information in a single article is not a great amount. But it is an act of gazing at it slowly over time. This may run counter to the world's movement towards information. I imagine how the few words and images that remain will echo past and future drawings and weave a new story. I draw while imagining such a long and endless time. It seems to me to be an act of stepping up to prevent something from pushing me away, or bringing time back toward me.

I want to create a world where the timelines are disjointed and those times mix and float. Then, unfortunately, I see the same issues for humanity now as in the past.