TSCA is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of Shuhei Ise’s works entitled A Throw of the Dice, starting on July 18th (Saturday). Ise has consistently worked with painting. His oil paint brushstrokes are fleshy and composed, painted by pressing down on the brushes and applying significant pressure onto the picture plane. The pictorial composition integrally combines the matière and tones created by the paints that melt into each other. And yet, the works are never reduced to an abstract collection of lines, but instead present concrete images that provide premonitions of specific motifs. Ise’s paintings possess, despite being canonical in its faithful adherence to method of painting, a quality and intensity that exude beauty. This allows us to contemplate his works ontologically in terms of contingency and necessity, where sensibilities, actions, and conceptions come together maintaining an intimate and subtle balance.
For this exhibition, Ise refers back to his own words to reflect on his attitude towards painting. “It is good to find fulfillment in everyday life. At the same time, there is nothing that is more boring than that. A possible solution, then, is to shift the target and aim further away. At that point, the quality and the different stages of what interest me should reveal themselves to me. What would happen if I were to repeat that,” he asks himself. By “aiming further,” Ise refers to the act of actively invoking absurdity by removing the factor of purpose from the picture plane. Absurdity is achieved through a process of brining a picture plane back to zero right when it reaches its saturation point. It may also be referred to as the act of proactively inviting the contingent by avoiding the necessary consequence regulated by the purpose. Ise regards those paintings that can sustain the viewers’ gaze despite accepting a great number of such absurdities as being strong.
Ise entitled this exhibition A Throw of the Dice. It refers to Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance*, in which Ise sees his artistic stance of accepting contingency reflected. Mallarme attempted throughout his life to remove elements of chance from his poetry, but what he finally arrived at was this poem. The format of the poem actively introduces chance. In the fragments of words visually scattered over a white spread, we see the free emergence of human will that goes beyond linear linguistic necessity, and it is impregnated with the “celebration of the creative power of chance” (Thierry Roger, 2010). It is also possible to derive an understanding of the poem not as a conflict between necessity and chance, but as a manner of understanding the world as inherently consisting of contingency (Quentin Meillassoux, 2011). This strongly resonates with the ontology of Ise’s paintings. We believe that this will be evident to anyone who will view the exhibition, and will retrace the artist’s past artistic activities. Studying in Germany allowed him to paint more freely in comparison to the inflexibly accurate brushstrokes and conclusive compositions from his years at the Tokyo University of the Arts. His works now come to fruition as “mere paintings” through the animated dialogue between the picture plane and the paints.
This exhibition will showcase new works of painting, as well as the exploration of new possibilities using non-drying oils based on a novel research on materials.
We are looking forward to your visit.
- Stéphane Mallarmé, Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard
The final poem written by nineteenth century French poet Stéphane Mallarmé. It is known as the precursor of visual poetry, with its attempt to revolutionize poetry in written form by making the font and size of letters, as well as grammar chaotically mutate over a spread, and by positioning them figuratively to represent the content of the poem. It was planned to be published as a book sumptuously illustrated by Odilon Redon, but Mallarmé’s death put a halt to it. Mallarmé generally disliked illustrations to poems, but an existing letter asking Redon to work on this book shows his appreciation of the artist. Ise also holds Redon in high esteem to the point that Redon’s works motivated him to become a painter. This work is one of the poems that have historically generated the most diverse readings, including a new interpretation by Quentin Meillassoux published in 2011.