Masahito Koshinaka: Please let me...

Masahito Koshinaka: Please let me...

2018 11.29 - 12.25

Opening reception: November 29th (thur.) 18:00 – 20:00 (The artist will be attending the opening reception)
Supported by DMM.make | Orgesta Ltd.

"three-way", 2018, 40 x 60 cm, C-print, ©Masahito Koshinaka
Press Release

Venue: nca | nichido contemporary art
Exhibition schedule: November 29th (thur.) – December 25th (tue.)
Opening hours: Tue. ~ Sat. 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sunday, Monday and National holidays)
Opening reception: November 29th (thur.) 18:00 – 20:00 (The artist will be attending the opening reception)
Supported by DMM.make | Orgesta Ltd.

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present Masahito Koshinaka’s solo exhibition “Please let me”.
While looking at his own personal experiences, Koshinaka has been investigating the idea of “group” and “individual” from different perspectives, where that “singularity” finds its position inside the “collectivity”, its raison d'être, and the relation between the two, giving them voice in his works, whether as photographs or videos.
In the background of his works we find conflicting feelings towards those trends that are bonded to group norms, and which we widely take for granted, and those implicit rules of contemporary societies which are planted by the media. This exhibition focuses on the relation between Japanese people and work, which represents one of the country’s problems today, and deals with episodes that have been extensively covered by the media or experienced by the artist himself and people close to him in the form of photographs, videos and AR works.

 One’s own identity, as individual dimension within the collectivity, is shaped through the exchange with the others, society, but it is also constantly subjected to critical moments where it is pushed to question itself. And it trembles surrounded by these many relations. The challenge nowadays is to be able to maintain a psychological well-being while living a regular life. So, how should we relate to society or the others? What is that attribute that we need to preserve ourselves? What should we believe in? We go through each day without having clear answers. Maybe we are simply disguising ourselves. That “something” we are looking for (which is also the title of Koshinaka’s solo exhibition held at Gallery PARC / Kyoto last year) is boundless territory. While Koshinaka has been giving shapes to such issues mainly in the form of photographs and videos, on that occasion he presented his first AR(augmented reality)-technology based work “checking answers". From the photography-dimension where only the “real image” can be captured, images revealing the history, tales and landscapes of those buildings and spaces that are actually not present in the pictures, come to life through AR-technology by simply holding a tablet over the works’ surface. Furthermore, pictures of the images appearing through the AR-technology were taken and juxtaposed on the “real images”. The viewers could, in this way, compare on the spot the image with the one revealed trough the tablet screen, however, the result was an increased feeling of uncertainty and dubiousness towards the world in front of their eyes.

The theme of this exhibition focuses on the relation between Japanese people and work, which represents one of the country’s problems today, and shows the sequel of Koshinaka’s interest in AR-technology through his new works. The same uncertainty/ambiguity rules the employment world as well. Having himself undergone such experiences, Koshinaka feels that, for instance, the ambiguity behind statements such as “I would like to have you working longer as a full-time employer but unfortunately the company has agreed to a fixed term of three years only” may be represented by the word “please”. To the artist in the word “please” we can find the perfect rendering of such ambiguity.” We may define it as a subtle request. And on the other side, there are the employers who also end up using the word (please let me..), although we should rather say that they find themselves forced into that position. This “please/please let me” makes us look as if we are artfully trying to hide something, and even in the presence of a real problem, it makes it hard to determine its true nature.

For the creation of this new body of works Koshinaka captured a spider and observed the insect in action while spinning its cobweb. The pictures show the cobweb in the foreground, meshed in a tennis racket, while the background is occupied by a blurred image that resembles the children's television series “Thomas and his friends”. By looking at the pictures through a tablet, Thomas and his world come to life with its slogan-like lines “I must be useful from now on” or “we must become really useful engines”. While carrying passengers and goods, in line with this idea of “being useful” as their motivation, Thomas and his friends keep up with the hard work so that they can become useful engines. They are not after any reward. On the other hand, the spider’s continuous work to build its web is for its own survival, however, within Koshinaka’s works it is now stripped of its original purpose. Each of “Thomas and his friends” drawings used in the pictures has been personally created by the artist due to copyright’s concerns over the use of original material from the television series. Thus, here the work of these three parts, Thomas, the spider, and Koshinaka, becomes intertwined. Isn’t that “please”, that Koshinaka himself experienced through his job experiences, entangled inside this three-fold relation? It feels as Koshinaka is questioning trough his works whether there is a purpose at all in working.
With also a video work on view that deals with foreign technical interns, we can feel the different perspectives the artist is exploring towards this issue through video works and AR-based pictures.

Through the use of different metaphors Koshinaka’s work has been stepping into those invisible territories that surround us, such as society’s implicit rules, however, in a society as diversified and multifaced as the one we live in, we’d better stay tuned and monitor how Koshinaka will keep addressing such issues

Ichiro Okumura
Curator at The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama

Born in Osaka, 1979. Currently lives in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Solo exhibitions: “NEWoman ART wall”, NEWoman Department Store, Tokyo (2018) / “Koshinaka Masahito Exhibition”, Gallery PARC, Kyoto (2017) / “from one pixel”, Pola Museum of Art, Hakone (2015) / “Anagolism” C.A.P Kobe, Hyōgo (2015) / “individuals” nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo (2011) / “double word” nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo (2008) / “a view from the view”, VOICE GALLERY, Kyoto (2006) / “Those who go with me”, VOICE GALLERY, Kyoto (2004).
Group exhibitions: “small works”, nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo (2013) / 15th WRO Media Art Biennale. Wrocław, Poland (2013) / BIWAKO biennale, Shiga (2012) / Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale FUKUTAKE house (2009) / “Identity IV-curated by Kentaro Ichihara-“ nca | nichido contemporary art, Tokyo (2008) / UBS Young Art G27, Zürich, Swiss (2007) / “Masahito Koshinaka + Yukihiro Yamagami”, baobab, Kyoto (2007) / “into the photograph, out of the photograph” Third gallery Aya, Osaka, (2007) / “ZONE – PPOETIC MOMENT” Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo (2005) / Toyota Triennale, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (2004)
Award: “Mio Photo Award 2000”Tennoji MIO, Osaka (2000)
Collection: UBS Zürich, Swiss / BT Collection / Pola Museum of Art / Others

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