Calm, deep and strong
Hideki Nakamura (Same but different, Kamakura Gallery, Japan)
The best way to appriciate the art exhibition, "Same but different", is to take one´s time with the work. This is something I have discovered recently – that each art piece seems to require a tailored tempo for true appreciation. This exhibition by five women - four Swedish and one Japanese who mainly works in Sweden introduces not only a foreign culture but the looming spirituality of contemporary Japanese amid relatively rapid changes. What is common between the five artist is that, while sticking to individual identity, as represented by physical, uncertain bodies which transform with the passage of time, and yet confining their primal identity through their view point. In other words, the artists take a look at "personal/social self".
This can serve as a warning to today´s Japanese who tend to dwell on the superficial, loose a sense of themselves, or become self-centered in their thinking.
As a specific methodology, the artists attemp to cope with two apparently contradictory elements in a visual expression. The resulting ambiguity takes on impossible dimensions in real life. For example, Katinka andersson presents photographic images of her sisters, cousins and herself, adorned with flowery decorations or disguised as animals. There, "A world of saga and myth is conjured up in poetic images" (Monica Nickels)- a shared memory that goes beyond one´s memory.
In Inger Bergström´s close-up depiction of her face she is a grown-up but cries like a child. It is made up of countless tiny pieces of accumulated objects. Such ambiguities- being an adult yet behaving like a child or, personal and simple image yet merely countless accumulation of pieces of fragments employing traditional media are sharply portraying the artist´s primal identity. The way she looks at herself is a further expression of her identity.
In "First Supper," a series of both video and still photographic works by Gunnel Pettersson, she shows scenes of mothers feeding their babies for the first time, setting similar to that of the "Last Supper"in the Bible. On one hand, there is the public image, with its historical significance. One image reflects both sides, we reflect on gender as we consider these individuals living amid changing times. This artist also confronts the movement of time in her video/still photography work "Landscape."
Sophi Vejrich´s work "Pigalle Support" is a statue of a young woman´s lower leg wearing fishnet tights. The figure appears at first to be quite sultry, but the truth is her lower legs are so fat she can barely stand, and she supports herself with a cane. Here we see a depiction of glamour, societal reality, beauty and ugliness of woman who live by Pigalle in nightlife district in Paris, and above aspects of those women are confronted humourously and being mediated by subtle balance of gravity, it also connotes a mythical meaning relating to wood, which is used as material.
Yumiko Shiozaki i the only Japanese artist among the participants who exhibits a wide range of holographic works, from sand cast small glass objects to larger compositions of images, including hand-drawn images or images of her belongings used on old photographic images. Since the multi-layered images of holographic works look different according to the angle from which one views it, one comes to realization of the existence of one´s own eyes facing the images by looking at the changing images.
The image of a candle being lit by an actual candle light, and the actual light is projected onto the candle image, the repetitious eye movement between tangible and intangible paradoxically thrills certainty and comfort of the process itself that confront to uncertain world. Her other works include glass objects and photographic images of her belongings juxtaposed with family photos from decades ago. By starting at the boundaries between past and present, these works leave us in a state of subtle peace, which is, per se, representative of personal existence and morality.
In summary, there seems to be something characteristically swedish in the dialogue with the inner self that accompanies ambiguous uncertanties, and the way one gazes upon ones personal/social self. The emergence of self, indeed, can be seen elsewhere in the world, but i think we all view ourselves a bit differently. The title "Same but different" may touching on this phenomenon.