Takuro Someya Contemporary Art is pleased to present “Passage” a solo exhibition of Kyoto- based artist Yoshitaka Yazu.
Born in Osaka prefecture in 1980, Yazu graduated from Kyoto City University of the Arts in 2004. He is currently a part-time lecturer at the Kyoto University of Art & Design.
While residing in Kyoto, Yazu continues to develop his installation works, using a variety of mediums, particularly three-dimensional objects. He has a deep interest in subjects of cultural anthropology that penetrate into Animism, Shintoism and even Kumagusu Minakata. This can be seen in how he devises various methods in rethinking the location of spirituality, which has almost been lost in this modern era. In 2012, he started to propel kumagusuku, a project in which visitors experience art through staying in an accommodation built by Yazu himself. He joined the Setouchi Triennale 2013 Shodoshima “Hishi-no-sato + Sakate Port Project-Relational Tourisim” Art project and opened kumagusuku for a period of 3 months. kumagusuku, built in Shijodaimiya officially opened to public in January 2015.
This exhibition is the first solo show of the artist since he opened kumagusuku. Through his experience in operating a stay-in style art space, he felt compelled to return again to the gallery space to launch “Passage”. We are hopeful that something does appear within this “Passage” for all visitors.
Yazu has a genuine interest for things decorated by humans to feel sacred, and for the existence of religions, rituals and tools that humans have created based on that sacredness. Furthermore, he is also interested in the fact that such a process can be replaced by present day. In other words, in modern times there is an appearance of the modern god, the formation of the god is different from the gods of ancient times. The pursuit of an intellectual understanding of its formation itself may be the driving force for the artist in creating his works. The group of works and the composition of the exhibition represented by such intensions of the artist lead to a space that counts on the spiritual sensibility resonating through the artist. In such a spiritual composition, it seems Yazu tries to open a “passage” that drives that spiritual sensibility that humans held before they bit into the fruit of conscious thinking.
When entering the exhibition space, it is likely that the first item that draws your attention is the large pedestals, calculated by the artist to be specifically sized (w5cm x h105 x d60). The pedestals are arranged to cross through the gallery space, creating a function of an altar as well as a passageway. On top of the pedestals are objects that resemble primitive vessels, and on the other side, mounted on the wall are circular, colored mirrors, a group of photographs printed on polyester clothes (historic ruins, Jomon pottery, domestic cats, scenes captured at travel destinations, penis stone monuments, etc.) and also a video work featuring Mt. Ota processed by monotone effect.
Bowl-shaped objects without the function of a bowl sway between object and purpose, just as the dents of stones were rediscovered as tools by ancient people and sit still between matter and form. When one brings up the bowl of water to one’s mouth and sees oneself in the surface of water, the object becomes a little like an image of a water glass and leads to what appears to us as a silver gloss on the inside.
Round mirrors have been used as mediums to project “the other side”―the afterlife―at sacred rituals since ancient times. While waiting for the chemical reactions between ink and lacquer to occur on the specular surface of aluminum polished by his own hands, Yazu attempts to project the image of “the other-side” under the leveled layers of color.
Yazu’s photographs, just like the mirrors may work as a force to reflect, however this time they play a role as an index for his “fieldwork,” Opportunities to evoke our spiritual sensibilities are buried in the pilgrimage of historical sites and journeys that leap time and space, and in encounters with nature such as animals or in activities such as mountain climbing. Yazu seems to invite the viewers to “the other side” by allowing us to face our consciousness and passing by his specular surfaces reflecting the afterlife and the index of pilgrimage.
With that in mind, whether the resonance as a passage to spirituality may occur or not in a place like a gallery that reflects the principal of reality itself depends on each viewer. This exhibition is the instrument to call back the spiritual senses to present time. It is the art works themselves acting as a passage.