Exhibition Talk and Opening: Studio Kura, Itoshima
We had a lovely day yesterday opening our exhibitions here at Studio Kura, I will put up a gallery of my work soon but wanted to share some pictures I took at the openings.
We started off at 3pm at the main office with Angela Chen's (artist from China) beautiful installation "The Spider Net". Angela created a beautiful glowing spider web, as well as a shimmering starscape across the floor in the main gallery there (a former grain storage silo). It felt very peaceful and serene in the space and worked very well with the structural elements of the silo itself.
From there we moved on to House 1 and saw in the first gallery "Leave a trace" by Hanna Lee from South Korea - Hanna's show included gorgeously curated photography, pencil drawings, oils in delicate and gritty palletes alongside a small framed piece with these beautiful words written by Hanna:
"Everything leaves a trace.
Everything changes little by little.
Observing and recording these changes are interesting.
I trace the trail and remind it again."
The next House 1 artist to speak was Darae Baek, a video performance artist also from South Korea. Her work was titled "Existence or Reflection" and her video taken around Itoshima is stunning, I really loved the themes she spoke about of being able to find familiarity in new places. Darae also created a lovely piece of work shot up at Sakurai Shrine for the Spring Festival earlier this week.
There was also beautiful work on display by a visiting artist who had a residency in December of last year: Isabelle Kawai from Australia (who has just made the inspiring decision to move to Japan for five years!).
We then moved on to House 2 where we started with 'Enveloped', a sculptural piece and series of photographs created by Kat Teede, a fine artist from Melbourne, Australia. I really loved the textures in Kat's sculptural piece - both in terms of the images used but also the texture of the paper and the real sense it communicated of her experiences here in Itoshima.
I then spoke about my exhibition, 'Dust', which was a small series of colourful works exploring existential themes of birds and being. I will put up a seperate gallery of images of the works themselves. Earlier this week I had planned a workshop for Skaruai Shrine Spring Festival that I had not been able to run on the day due to weather. I was really happy to be able to set it up alongside my exhibition and will carry it on in all of the locations I visit.
We then moved into the space of Solel Israel. He is a talented photographer from Brussels who normally works in analogue film, so for this show he created a video piece 'Ebanessento'. The piece was designed to be an installation with no beginning or end but a very careful and conceptual combination of video from Japan and Europe. I found it very meditative to be in the room and watch and I really enjoyed the feeling of journey and contemplation. The room itself was used in a very clever way with us sitting on the tatami mats watching the work projected into a corner which almost made it feel like we were inside the work itself rather than just watching. He is travelling for some time so wont be able to develop his film until he returns home at the end of his travels but I am really looking forward to seeing the pictures!
From there we wrapped up enjoyed drinks and nibbles before moving on to the local Yakitori bar to celebrate and hang out (yum yum yum).
A massive thank you to those who came and the other artists - I have been so inspired here by the work everyone is doing and the generous, supportive and open spirits that everyone held.
I have found this whole experience for me to be one of reflection. I guess working in the arts means I spend a lot of time working with artists but not so much working on my own arts practice. It has been delicious to have a month to spend trying out new things and exploring the things that interest me and extend what I am doing. Not everything was successful in terms of the actual outputs, but I was able to test out new things and play with the mediums and each piece was important or my own learning.
I am hugely grateful for the opportunity to work here at Studio Kura and the time spent by their team to make these residencies come together (particularly Katsura-san and Hiro-san who are incredible). There has been a lot for me to reflect on and some things I would like to take back and think about in terms of how we run our residency project and exhibitions at The Arts Village back home in Rotorua.