Mixed Media Exhibitions
(Sound and Light: Garrett Lockhart / Photo: Edwin Isford)
"Les temps mutants" explored the psychological and biological aspects of mutation, focusing on changes in physical form and substance. Mutants amphibians represented the irradiated bodies in which the reproductive system was metamorphosed into the erotic. The invisible materiality (or, radioactivity) was rendered visible through a reimagination of Japanese and Western folklore. My work also engaged with fantasy; I depicted mutated landscapes whimsically, and in the process, reinterpreted dystopian environments produced by highly destructive technology.
The works represent grotesque existences where creatures are troubled not only internally, but also externally, through radioactive contamination. "Les temps mutants" emphasizes our period of rapid change where "mutation" has become a symptom of the Anthropocene. It is a time for mutants.View More
The "Mutation" series depicts the mythical, biological, and psychological structures of mutation. The process of mutation is also represented through "neoteny," which refers to the retention, in the adults of a species, of juvenile physical characteristics.
The main reason of using Japanese traditional formats of ceramics was to question the nuclear history of Japan, by creating malformed objects that were representing anxiety and the grotesque through fantasies. I built mutated shapes and create textures through melted surfaces to recall radioactive exposure and burns from the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The dysfunctional altered shapes also represent the nuclear meltdown/melt through and the leaking system of contaminated water that happened at the Fukushima atomic power plants. My interest in ceramics was also to study the aspect of solidity affected by high temperature as well as the properties of objects in three-dimensional space, something that could't be studied in two-dimensional paintings.
"Nuclear Body" was the title of my exhibition room for the group exhibition of the Concordia University's MFA Department of Studio Arts. 17 pieces of my artworks were exhibited, including three series — "Dissociation," "Anatomy," and "Interpretation" series — which related to the multifaceted dimensions of nuclear energy and culture.
The painting on the left side is "Nuclear Weapon Test" which is based on the nuclear weapon test named Baker in Operation Crossroads which the United States of America conducted in the Bikini Atoll in 1946. It was held after the Trinity in July, Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The painting on the right side named "Tumor" represents the radioactivity causing tumors, such as cancers.
The painting, which is the application of a mental collage of some parts of a malformed baby, suggests the structure or system of the body without any bones inspired by the idea of Deleuze and Guattari's "body without organs" and the works of Francis Bacon. It is also as an allegory of how the human world is not able to sustain itself.
Podam is the CIA code name of Matsutarō Shōriki, called "the father of nuclear power generation" (but also known as the father of Japanese professional baseball). Shōriki owned the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan's major daily newspapers, and founded Japan's first commercial television station, Nippon Television Network Corporation. He was also the first Chairman of the Japanese Atomic Energy Commission and Head of the Science and Technology Agency, supported behind the scenes by the CIA. It represents Shōriki's mentality and the hidden part of the nuclear industry.
"The exhibition HŌSHANŌ: Art and Life in a Post-Fukushima World initiates a dialogue between Quebec and Japan regarding the Fukushima disaster, which Jean-Luc Nancy termed a "civilizational catastrophe." Its consequences disturb life itself, haunt the collective memory and change our way of understanding the world. Hōshanō, which means "radioactivity" in Japanese, questions the nature of this invisible enemy released during the fusion of the reactor core of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Beyond the ruins and devastation of the Tōhōku region made visible in the media, the radioactive threat is invisible and insidious; it contaminates all the elements that surround it and is inscribed on a vertiginous duration calculated in terms of half-lives. The era of the atom becomes that of self-destruction, that of a war without an enemy. Thinking after Fukushima becomes imperative for the future of our civilization. Today, on the sixth anniversary of the triple catastrophe and the official entry of the world into the Anthropocene era, this exhibition is introspective: what kind of world will we bequeath to future generations?" (Exhibition statement written by Amandine Davre, Curator)
The "Dissociation" series explores the psychological aspects of "dissociation" in Japan, focusing on individual and collective practices of self-defense and self-censorship, and attitudes of denial. The works represent people's minds and bodies as separated and divided, where people are troubled not only internally, but also externally through radioactive contamination.
This work reminds us that despite the process of historical repression in the face of the anxiety of the past, the impact of irradiation on the skin and biological tissues persists. And even after the body become ashes and dust, the nuclear materials remain.
These works express the radioactive incidents in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima in Japan, but also the others in history. The "atomic" transcends time and space, as well as the visible and the invisible, through contamination and the continuous spreading of radioactivity.
One of the effects of radiation exposure is chromosomal abnormalities or aberrations, which provoke the chromosomes to connect erratically or split repeatedly, causing illness such as cancers. By illustrating enlarged chromosomal abnormalities through looking into a magnifying glass, this work makes visible the world of the inner radiation exposure.
One of the effects of radiation exposure is chromosomal abnormalities or aberrations, which provoke the chromosomes to connect erratically or split repeatedly, causing illness such as cancers. This work makes visible the world of the inner radiation exposure by evoking a microscope observation of a specimen prepared on a glass slide on an X-ray view box.
This exhibition explored my new artistic concept: Info Art. As information is becoming more persuasive in everyday lives, and that Art struggles to find its place and purpose in a data-intensive capitalist world, Info Art is an artistic approach in which aesthetic ideas could serve informative purposes and where each artwork can communicate, not only emotions and sensitivities, but also information and social/political messages to help create a more balanced and less conflicted world.
This work is based on the "Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci which I consider an iconic representation of Post-Renaissance Western art, science, and culture. It is also inspired by the artwork "Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment" by Seiki Kuroda, a modern Japanese painter from the early 20th century who promoted Western academism in Japanese art. As a piece of "Info-Art," it aims to highlight and illustrate the effects of radiation in the interior of the human body (in particular within the female body), while at the same time raising questions about information control, (self-)repression of freedom of expression, historical and contemporary sociopolitical and cultural constraints, and self-censorship.
"Limited Truth" brings together various visualizations of nuclear and atomic energy from Japan's postwar history. This series of images foreground Japan's experience of this period through technical, cultural, and aesthetic symbols. Digital processing in the artworks represents how we receive, perceive and process media information and technology, while the analog approach represents the organic reactions of life. These images express the complex relationship between the imaginary, representation, and the investigation of the truth.
These illustrations of 46 enlarged chromosomal abnormalities caused by radiation make visible the world of the inner radiation exposure in an instinctive way. The moment when chromosomes are subject to metamorphosis / propagation is suggested. Every time blood circulates, chromosomes are cut off and are connected again, affected by radioactive material. This symptom is called chromosomal abnormality or aberration, as chromosomes connect erratically, and split repeatedly, causing illness, such as cancers.