Where were we? At Gutai, at Yoko Ono in Tanaka. Everyone is at the exhibition JAPAN. BODY_PERFORM_LIVE at PAC in Milan, open until February 12. He had led them to an extraordinary essay by Fabiano Fabbri, entitled Lo zen e i manga. L’arte contemporanea giapponese (2009). It seems that the contemporaneity, selected by the sober and elegant curatorship of Shihoko Iida and Diego Sileo, starts from the body, dynamics and movements relevant to it. It is the body that translates the space and its sound in the site-specific work of Ami Yamasaki Here (qui), you (tu), hear (senti).

Chikako Yamashiro, “Mud Man”, 2016 in cooperation with Aichi Triennale 2016 © Chikako Yamashiro, courtesy of Yumiko Chiba Associates

“The overall shape of this installation originates from the acoustics of the PAC. I use voices to get to know the world. When you want to discover the world, you usually use your hands, smell or hearing. I use the voice as a sensor”, the artist explained. The work is like a tail of over temila paper feathers, a wave that collects the environmental sounds of the PAC and vibrates them deep in the artist who imprisoned them in this great origami. A reference to the famous tale of the stork that returns the salvation obtained by a carpenter, transforming his feathers in a wonderful carpet.

Fuyuki Yamakawa, “Untitled”, 2008, Performed in “Seven Nights, Seven Lights” at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo Courtesy the artist

The work of Fuyuki Yamakawa also speaks of body, using singing to convey his voice through sound improvisations. The body is related to society, the environment and materiality, as it flashes in the installation LOVE/SEX/DEATH/ MONEY/LIFE by Dumb Type, created in 1994 for an exhibition held in Tokyo entitled Of the Human Condition: Hope and Despair at the End of the Century. The key words, as in Holzer’s work, flow in black and white on a LED wall, touching two hot themes for Japan: sexuality and HIV. The ethereal, almost evanescent work of Yui Usui speaks of gender inequality. Her woven fabrics hang like discs in the room, bringing the tensions of the necessary but unrecognized female work. Like a kind of embroidery tombs, they echo biological references to laboratory slides, cells and technologies used for prenatal diagnosis.

Yui Usui, “in vitro #5”, 2019, Courtesy Aichi Triennale Organizing Committee

There is also room for fake at the PAC: Makoto Ada disguises himself as Bin Laden to denounce with the weapon of irony the media censorship during the environmental disasters that overwhelmed Japan. Instead, the video We mourn the Dead of the Future by Meiro Koizumi is a dismal reflection on the relationship between mass and single, but also on the power of control that the state exercises over the inhabitants. A sort of mass funeral that becomes a ritual, a celebration of mourning under the eyes of the army. In 1978 he represented the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; at the PAC his line drawn on ground sheets reminds us of the limits of space and makes us reflect on the relationships between people, objects and places.

Meiro Koizumi, “We Mourn the Dead of the Future”, 2019, Courtesy the artist, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam & MUJIN-TO Production, Tokyo

Also in Venice, in 2015 we were overwhelmed by the installation of Chiharu Shiota, The key in the hand. At the PAC black threads descend thick incorporating suspended white clothes. The clothes are empty, as the title reminds us: Empty Body: the experience of life is confused with that of death, in a single cocoon.

Chiharu Shiota, “After the Dream”, 2011, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France, Photo Sunhi Mang, Copyright SIAE, Roma, 2020 and the artist

Yuko Mohri’s work is also based on space and on man’s relationship with the objects that inhabit it: tubes and umbrellas, dripping and suspensions put man in relationship with a natural flow of sounds, useless calderianamente structures that suspend the functionality of the machines inside a plastic and refined elegance.


curated by Shihoko Iida e Diego Sileo
20/11/2022 – 12/02/2023
PAC – Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan


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