Tokyo, Japan – WAITINGROOM is pleased to announce Nobuaki ITOH Solo Exhibiton, A¯to and Artist, from November 26th to December 25th, 2016 and it is the first time to present the artist’s solo exhibition at our gallery. ITOH has been exploring the issue of body, life / death, and spirit, which are not avoidable for human being, and creating video and installation works in this theme. The exhibition will consist of two video works; A¯to (Art), the video consists of short footage, which show the artist himself talking the issue of the “essence of art” in front of masterpieces, artist’s studio, and people who are touring to watch artworks. The other work, Artist, a kind of “Mockumentary” which shows the process of changing the mind of one woman, who had not been able to decide whether she would become an artist or not, but finally stated her will to be an artist. In this video, what changes her mind is a practice of shouting “Ten Statements for an Artist” which consist of remarks by 10 artists, the method of which is based on the new employee trainings of Japanese companies. In this exhibition, there will be two different versions of the work, A¯to (Art), Japan and Spain versions, and Artist along with the related drawings.
Left: Ten Statements for an artist drawing, 2013-2014, paper, pencil, inkjet print, installation view (Antenna Media, Kyoto)
Right: Prophet, 2011, single channel video with sound, chair, installation view (@KCUA, Kyoto)
Born in 1981 in Nara, currently lives and works in Nara and Kyoto. He graduated from Kyoto University of Arts and Design in the major of Fine Art in 2006 and obtained a Ph.D. in Art at Kyoto City University of Arts in 2016. His recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition “A¯to” (APMoA Project, ARCH vol.13: Nobuaki ITOH, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya, 2015), group exhibition “GRAVEDAD CERO” (Matadero Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 2015), solo exhibition “Artist and Prophet” (HAGISO, Tokyo, 2014), “Ushimado Asia Triennale” (Setouchi City Museum of Art, Okayama, 2014), group exhibition “Me’tis – fighting art -“ (Gallery @KCUA, Kyoto, 2012), group exhibition “RESONANSE” (Suntory Museum, Osaka, 2010) and many others.
Left: Living/Dead, 2012-2016, single channel video with sound
Right: Dead body of recollection, 2010, MP3 Players, Speakers, Amplifier, dimention variable, installation view (“CUBIC” Gallery Iteza, Kyoto)
The exhibition will consist of two video works, A¯to (Art), and Artist, which question us “What on earth do we consider as art?”
In the work, A¯to (Art), ITOH himself is projected in front of museums and public artworks around Japan, talking about “the essence of art”. Where is the essence of art? How the ideal art should be? ITOH says in the video that the artwork created from the illimitable desire of recognition can easily be consumed but the “X” beyond the artwork, in other words, to pursue the ideal which human being never can reach is the genuine “essence of art”. In the meantime, he sometimes makes funny faces or weird gestures while he is talking in a detached tone, hence those footages of selfie images are as if the collage of videos posted on SNS so that a contradiction between what he says and his attitude are appearing gradually. As the artist himself acts both roles who shoot and to be shot, his words become wandering between reality and fiction. In addition to this work, A¯to (Japan Ver.), which has been exhibited at Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, there will be another version, A¯to (Spain Ver.), which was shot during his residency in Madrid (Spain), and both will be projected as 2 channel format in the gallery space. Spain version was made with almost the same script and same setup in front of Spanish masterpieces and environment around art, using the same method of the Japanese one. By projecting Spain and Japanese versions together in the same space, even if the object is the artist himself, the contrast is appearing by the circumstances, it illuminates the different situations surround art in both countries, furthermore the different history of them.
The work, Artist, is a kind of “Mockumentary” which shows the process of changing the mind of one woman, who had not been able to decide whether she would become an artist or not, but finally stated her will to be an artist, by practicing to shout “Ten Statements for an Artist” which consist of remarks by 10 artists, the method of which is based on the new employee trainings of Japanese companies. It starts as a comical setting to keep shouting “Ten Statements for an Artist”, but eventually she almost becomes an indoctrinated person, by repeating this attitude over and over again. To repeat the principal of how the artist should be highlights the question of “What is an Artist” paradoxically, and this operation of repetition changes those words to the meaningless ones by degrees. However, she declares that she will be an artist at the end with satisfied smile, feeling like a sense of accomplishment. “Chicken or the egg, Artist or Fine Art”. The question of “Who/What is an Artist?” is being connected to “Who/What am I?” which is an universal question for self-consciousness.
“I have been exploring the issue of body, life/death and spirit, which are not avoidable for human being. I don’t limit my style of making artworks, but chooses on each occasion the best way to make audiences realize these issues.” – Nobuaki ITOH
ITOH has been making artworks that the truth/ falsehood or real/fiction are mixed up, by using the relationship between acting and being acted in the video intentionally. The two video works in this exhibition create the distortion of real (reality) in the screen and question where is the true identity of attitude he does and words he says in the video, hence, it makes audience realize his universal theme of spirit about Art and Artist.