Nobuaki Itoh "Human's photographs / Dung and Flowers"

6/25 (Sat.) - 7/24 (Sun.), 2022
*We are open on Wed.-Sat. 12-7pm / Sun. 12-5pm
*Closed on Mon. Tue.
Installation View
Human's photographs
single channel video with sound, 15min.
video still
Dung and Flowers
single channel video, 3min.9sec.
video still
Candle / Cut Flowers / Sleep / Smoke
single channel video with sound, 60min.
video still
Time Cannot Go Back (2020-2022)
single channel video with sound, 73min.
video still
Time Cannot Go Back (Human)
single channel video with sound, 3min.59sec.*
video still *This work is an audience-participation version of "Time Cannot Go Back" that was shown at the Kyoto Art Center, solo exhibition"FOCUS#4: Nobuaki Ito, Time Cannot Go Back".
Press release
WAITINGROOM (Tokyo) is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Nobuaki Itoh, “Human’s photographs / Dung and Flowers,” from June 25 (Sat) to July 24 (Sun), 2022. Itoh is an artist who has been exhibiting video and installation works that explore fundamental themes that cannot be avoided in life, such as the body, life and death, and the spirit. At this exhibition, his third solo show at the gallery in four years, he will present two new works: Human’s photographs, a video work in which Itoh himself plays a mentor in an “exercise” to highlight the fact that we are unable to imagine “people who are not in the picture” in today’s world saturated with photographs or images; and Dung and Flowers, a video piece depicting his own excrement and vividly colored flowers from around the world. Itoh will also exhibit recent works that focus on the irreversible passage of time from birth to death, such as Candle / Cut Flowers / Sleep / Smoke (2020), in which the artist keeps turning over his own skin while humming metaphors related to death, and Time Cannot Go Back (2020-2022), created during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Human’s photographs”, 2022, single channel video with sound

About the artist, Nobuaki Itoh
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 the solo exhibitions “Time Cannot Go Back” (Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto, 2022), “Anyway, it’s always the others who die.” (THE 5 FLOOR, Tokyo, 2020), “Fiction / The most beautiful moment in my life” (WAITINGROOM, Tokyo, 2018), “The most beautiful moment in my life” (Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts Gallery, Kyoto, 2018), the group exhibitions “Cross-border Museum” (Kushino Terrace, Hiroshima, S-HOUSE Museum, Okayama, 2018), “The 3rd Ushimado Asia Triennale” (Shirimi Area, Okayama, 2017), solo exhibition “Ato and Artist” (WAITINGROOM, Tokyo, 2016), group exhibition “S-HOUSE Museum Memorial Exhibitions” (S-HOUSE Museum, Okayama, 2016-2026), a solo exhibition “APMoA Project, ARCH vol.13: Nobuaki ITOH “Āto””, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Aichi, 2015), group exhibition “GRAVEDAD CERO” (Matadero Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 2015) and many others. A solo exhibition “Time Cannot Go Back” is on view at Kyoto Art Center (Kyoto) until July 18, 2022.

“Dung and Flowers”, 2022, single channel video

To live is to gently confront death, amid the irreversible passage of time
According to Itoh, as he collected a large number of photographs of people from various regions and of a variety of ages for his new work, Photographs of People, which is being shown for the first time at this exhibition, he became more and more aware of the existence of “people who are not in the picture,” as well as “people who could not be photographed” in the photographs he collected. “In the current age, saturated with an overabundance of photographs or images, the value and meaning of being depicted in these images has perhaps been diluted,” says Itoh. Similar to what Itoh says about becoming “so preoccupied with what is ‘in the picture’ that we can no longer even imagine that such people existed,” by looking at a photograph we can understand that the person was certainly there when it was taken, and it is possible to imagine the existence of that person. When there is no photograph and it becomes difficult to imagine that person, however, we might as well say that the person does not exist. In this day and age when we find ourselves inundated with photographs of someone or other from all over the world, we believe that we exist here of our own volition, thinking and acting on our own. To imagine that a person is born and exists may seem easy, but actually entails a much greater degree of difficulty.
All of the works in this exhibition are expressed using the time-based medium of video. Numerous sequences are juxtaposed in linear time as the videos begin and end, and viewers are invited to spend time with the images that flow before their eyes. As seen in his recent works such as Candle / Cut Flowers / Sleep / Smoke, in which Itoh continues to peel off his own skin while uttering metaphors related to the theme of death depicted as a motif in paintings from all over the world, and Time Cannot Go Back, which consists of images that the artist shot daily during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nobuaki Itoh’s works use metafiction to shed humorous light on serious concepts that no one can avoid in life. Although excretion and death are unavoidable for anyone in this life, we cannot take them into our own hands to see them clearly. Through this dazzling visual experience that unfolds before our eyes, we may be confronted with such a raw and grotesque fate. To remember death, however, which is gently approaching at this very moment, is synonymous with the realization that we are indeed alive.
We hope you take the opportunity to appreciate the gentle borders of this current moment in Nobuaki Itoh’s practice through his recent works.

“Candle / Cut Flowers / Sleep / Smoke”, 2020, single channel video with sound, 60min

Concurrent Exhibition: solo exhibition “Time Cannot Go Back”
Duration: 5/14 (Sat.) – 7/18 (Mon. *National holiday), 2022 *Temporarily closed on 6/8 (Wed.)

Venue: Kyoto Art Center North Gallery, South Gallery, Japanese-style Room “Meirin”, and several locations in the facility space. (Yamabushiyama-cho 546-2, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8156)
*Artist talks and live performances are also planned. Please see the exhibition website for event details.

“Time Cannot Go Back (2020-2022)”, 2020-2022, single channel video with sound

Nobuaki ITOH