Identity XVII - Beyond Family and Species - curated by Eriko Kimura

Identity XVII - Beyond Family and Species - curated by Eriko Kimura

2021 7.2 - 8.7

On view from July 2 (fri.)

I Know The Pilot | 2020 | 21 x 31 cm, mixed media | ©Renuka Rajiv
Press Release

Identity X VII - Beyond Family and Species - curated by Eriko Kimura

Venue: nca | nichido contemporary art
Date: 7.2 (fri.) – 8.7 (sat.), 2021
Opening hours: Tue. ~ Sat. 11:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sunday, Monday and National holidays)
Participating Artists: Mei HOMMA / Moeko KAGEYAMA / Renuka RAJIV / Kensaku SEKI
Curator: Eriko Kimura / Senior Curator, Yokohama Museum of Art
kindly supported by: MARUEIDO JAPAN

nca | nichido contemporary art is pleased to present the exhibition "Identity XVII - curated by Eriko Kimura".
nca’s Identity-exhibition series investigates, as suggested by the title, the theme of identity, each time from a new angle and under a different curatorial guidance. This year’s edition welcomes as guest curator Eriko Kimura, Senior Curator at Yokohama Museum of Art.

Beyond Family and Species
When we talk about “family” today, what is the meaning we attach to that word?
Does it stand for blood ties, like the relation between parents and children, siblings, or is it about what the system defines as such, like a spouse or an adopted child? Does it stretch to any kind of cohabiting situation? Right. Actually, only humans are capable of forming relations, aren’t they?
The modern legal system, as well as the advancement of science and technology, has rigorously framed the idea of family playing a major role in narrowing down its many possibilities. Therefore, all those human relations that don’t make the cut, with family dynamics that don’t fit into that frame, represent a colorful overwhelming reality.
We are witnessing worldwide the gradual emergence of movements that are pushing for laws and religious interpretations to take into consideration an idea of family that acknowledges gender and sexual diversity, in order to eradicate the contradictions that stand in between society and real life. Eradicating a value system so tortuously entangled, however, is not an easy task.
Connected through their work to different parts of Asia, the four artists on view address the invisible aspects of society, dealing with those relations that don’t fall under the standard definition of family, either whether among humans or with other species.
Mei Homma who explores the situation around pregnancy and childbirth both in Japan and in Indonesia. Kensaku Seki who draws a picture of Bhutan’s youth community. Renuka Rajiv who focuses on everyday life in all its forms and shapes from the perspective of gender and sexuality in India. And Moeko Kageyama who engages in an effort to depict entities that transcend humans, animals and plants in central Tokyo. Instead of drawing a new line, these artists deconstruct with their work already existing concepts and then try to find ways to expand on them breaking free from their limitations.

■About the artists and their work
Carrying on her artistic practice between Bandung (Indonesia) and Tokyo, Mei Homma investigates society’s lack of information toward women’s physical phenomena of pregnancy and birth, despite them being the most primordial of human experiences.
In Homma’s photographs, the aligned fruits represent the stages of the fetal development and the cervix’s gradual dilatation as it prepares for labor and delivery, recreating part of the physical sensation solely known by women who have experienced pregnancy and birth. In addition, the artist’s video work, centered around an interview with a “dukun”, a traditional Indonesian midwife, highlights the discrepancy between physical event and mental state by zooming in on women’s physical and emotional burden which, most often than not, is overlooked in the shadow of modern medical care. Moreover, the video shines a light on the real nature of these corporeal phenomena away from myths and abstract narratives.

Kensaku Seki is a photographer who, at one point in his life, experienced working as a physical education teacher in Bhutan where he was sent to through the Japan Overseas Cooperation program. Eventually, Seki returned to the city to witness firsthand that the youths who once used to be his students were now homeless and unable to land any satisfactory job due to the country’s high unemployment rate. Neglected in a conservative society, these young people have turned to hip hop and graffiti to express their helpless condition creating a community of their own. Seki has formed a close bond with these youths who are living outside the framework of the traditional value system, and through his pictures he has been giving voice to a world where they keep looking forward with hope, building their unique community, all the while firmly anchored to street-culture.

Through the use of media such as drawing and fabric, Bangalore (India)-based artist Renuka Rajiv portrays the everyday life of the different people gravitating around them, along with symbolic, fantastic scenes generated by the artist’s approach toward diversity. Scattered across the surface, representations of seductive moments spent in the company of intimate companions. The world of Rajiv’s work transcends gender and sexuality, inhabited by spirit-like entities that, freed from any human feature, are bursting with life. And probably there, in response to the contradictions and harshness of real life, an opposite, free, interior world is unfolding.

A world where artificial and natural elements blend in together, populated by aquatic organisms, sometimes shellfish: Moeko Kageyama’s landscapes are indeed bizarre. Born and bred in the city center, Kageyama believes that there is no contrast between the urban landscape surrounded by skyscrapers and the capital highway, and the landscape of the mountainous region entirely covered by trees. For the artist it is like one contiguous landscape with subtle differences and boundaries. A gathering of some sort, happily chatting inside a cave; something that looks like piled up cushions; a human-like creature walking on four legs: in Kageyama’s work every element coexists as components of an ecosystem where, not only there is no more distinction between humans and aquatic creatures, but even the differences between organic and inorganic elements fade away.

Eriko Kimura
(Senior Curator, Yokohama Museum of Art)

Eriko Kimura
Senior curator of Yokohama Museum of Art (YMA) since 2000, recently worked as curatorial head of Yokohama Triennale 2020.
Recent curated exhibitions include; “Hanran: 20th Century Japanese Photography” (National Gallery of Canada, National Institute of Photography, 2019-2020), “BODY/PLAY/POLITICS” (YMA, 2016), “Cai-Guo Qiang: There and Back Again” (YMA, 2015), “NARA Yoshitomo: a bit like you and me…,” (YMA, 2012), “Takamine Tadasu: Too Far To See,” (YMA, 2011), “Tabaimo: DANMEN” (YMA, 2009-2010). Having previously worked as guest curator of “Kuandu Biennale,” Taipei, 2008 and also participated as a commissioner at “Busan Sea Art Festival,” 2011.

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