What Dwells Inside

Works by Japanese artists:  Hitoshi Kuriyama, Yasumasa Morimura & teamLab

What Dwells Inside is based on three traditional artistic expressions: performance, woodblock print and installation.  It is extremely fascinating to see how these artists digitally manipulate their material to create new art in the form of contemporary digital expressions which exist somewhere between the entertainment industry and the news media.  Morimura re-enacts Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” in a poetic video performance; Kuriyama lights up an imaginary universe with his installations of fluorescent tubes and teamLab address our lack of reverence for nature in a digital animation of a disintegrating classical 19th century “Ukiyo-E” woodblock print, revealing a futuristic machine underneath.

Contrary to most Western art in which the observer is a spectator and analyst of the surface before him, What Dwells Inside takes an Asian perspective and reflects on a different technique of viewing. In this exhibition the artists invite the viewer to meditate inside the image and become part of its spirit in order to understand its true significance.

The Chinese writer Zhou Cheng says that “in (Asian) fine art (…) (artists) don’t really pay attention to depicting the details on the surface, they focus on expressing the idea, or the spirit, and its inner meaning.  In Western art the emphasis on (surface) is superb, precise, with refined techniques, and realistic, superlative artistry”.

In a recent American study of observational skills among Asian and North-American students it was interesting to see how the North-American students remembered the foreground of an image whereas Asian students remembered its surroundings. These findings do indeed support the idea that there may be major culturally based differences at play in our way of seeing.

All three three artists are able to imbue their works with a meditative quality—you need to enter their work and become its prisoner in order to allow yourself to be dragged into the worlds they have created for you.  By doing so you might sense the difference between looking at and being in their world.

Yasumasa Morimura is a world famous Japanese appropriation artist who borrows images from historical artists (ranging from Edouard Manet to Rembrandt to Cindy Sherman), and then inserts his own face and body into them.  Morimura is represented by Ikkan Art in Singapore.

Hitoshi Kuriyama creates elaborate light installations using complex clusters of shattered fluorescent light bulbs.  With Kuriyama, fluorescent lights and LEDs become life forces that animate the darkness of the universe with an irregular, unpredictable rhythm.  Kuriyama was a part of Glasstress 2011, and is presented by Venice Projects.

teamLab is an ultra-technologists group made up of information specialists including programmers, mathematicians, architects, CG animators, web designers, graphic designers, artists, and editors.  teamLab create highly advanced digital animations by blurring the boundaries between each person’s respective fields of expertise.  Their inventive approach to the art field has broadened the perception of what digital art may be.  teamLab  is represented by Ikkan Art in Singapore.

Curated by Bjørn Inge Follevaag and Bergljot Jonsdottir.

This exhibition shows still another side of the S12’s Gallery profile as a venue for experimental work profiling artists from all over the world who utilize glass in its many and diverse forms.

The exhibition is produced in close cooperation with IKKAN ART, Singapore and Venice Projects & Glasstress, Italy. This is the second project in which S12 cooperates with Glasstress.

What Dwells Inside is the first cooperative project between S12 and curator Bjørn Inge Follevaag, who has a long history of working with Asian art, and who was part of the team that won the Art Critics’ Award for Real Life Stories/Skin Flesh and Bone in 2012.  It is also S12’s first cooperation with Ikkan Art in Singapore.

Dates:  August 30th – October 6th 2013
What Dwells Inside | S12 Open Access Studio and Gallery