| EN |

MATSUMOTO Yoko / NOGUCHI Rika: The Light
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: September 07 2009

fig. 1 Yoko MATSUMOTO "Light Shining in Wilderness Ⅰ" (1992); acrylic on canvas, 182×182cm, photo:Tadasu YAMAMOTO, courtesy of hino gallery

fig. 2 Rika NOGUCHI "The Sun #23" (2008); C-print, 40.3×40.3cm, courtesy of the Artist and Gallery Koyanagi

     It is difficult to judge this kind of exhibition. Indeed, in this exhibition, we can enjoy an extensive range of exhibits - Yoko Matsumoto’s paintings and Rika Noguchi’s photographs - which are displayed in a retrospective way. Nonetheless, the abundance of the works and the quality of the exhibition are completely different things. In fact, this exhibition can be said to be very poor in content as an independent exhibition.

     Why? The main problem is that not all the exhibits were created on the theme of “light”, though the title of this exhibition is “The Light”. Certainly, most of them give us an image of “light” in that the series of Matsumoto’s acrylic paintings [fig. 1], which were drawn based on the color pink, make us feel as if each picture is veiled in a haze and thus remind us of “light” sufficiently. Also, Noguchi’s pictures were taken for the important purpose of photographing the tone of “light”, as reflected clearly in “The Sun” series (2005-2008) [fig. 2], which were taken using a pinhole camera. Nevertheless, the above-mentioned works form only a part of the exhibition. In other words, the reason for having selected the two artists as exhibitors is only that their creations include works from which we can derive the theme of “light”.

     Yusuke Minami, who is in charge of exhibitions as the curator’s office manager in The National Art Center, Tokyo, does not make himself accountable for having selected these two artists as exhibitors in his description in the “Introduction - The Light: MATSUMOTO Yoko / NOGUCHI Rika -”. Here again, in spite of its title, “The Light”, Minami mentioned in this introduction that “the ultimate goal of this exhibition is not to concentrate on the word or concept of ‘light’” but “to try to introduce each exhibitor’s art itself”.*1 The above sentence shows his defiant attitude in that he confesses to using the theme (?) of “light” as only a convenient method for organizing this exhibition.

     This is why this exhibition is devised in an inexplicable way as described below, even though it is held as one independent exhibition. As specified in the brochure, the venue is used as if two solo exhibitions were being held separately - one is Matsumoto’s and the other is Noguchi’s. Therefore, we never see their works in the same exhibition room, though they participate in the same exhibition. Walking through the entrance gate, the viewers must choose from two entrances, the right or left. If we choose the left entrance, we encounter Matsumoto’s solo exhibition, which shows a series of her paintings created using mostly pink. On the other hand, if we pass through the right entrance, Noguchi’s “Fujiyama” series (1997- ) appears in front of us. After looking at one “solo exhibition”, we can move to the other “solo exhibition” through the aisle at the back of the room, which is connected to the exit of the other “solo exhibition”. Matsumoto’s paintings and Noguchi’s photos are displayed completely separately, which makes it impossible for there to be any interplay between them. Thus, their works never “meet with each other” because of the method of display used in this exhibition, though the catalogue of the exhibition suggests that the “first meeting” between Matsumoto and Noguchi has a significant meaning.

     For the above-mentioned reasons, I cannot praise this exhibition in spite of the abundance of the exhibits. Simply stated, there is no obvious reason for selecting these two artists as exhibitors. If this exhibition is intended to be organized as a solo exhibition, there is no need to hold a two-person exhibition and it would be enough to organize a simple solo exhibition. Even so, if there was an intention to hold a two-person exhibition, the works created by the two exhibitors should have been displayed so that they could be compared with each other. Where has the “light” disappeared to? Some viewers may have noticed already, but the composition of this exhibition is similar to that of the “Artist File” series, which has been organized by the same museum since 2008. The series has taken the form of selecting modern artists who the curators of the museum focus on in their routine field works and whose works are displayed separately by dividing the exhibition space into sections for each artist. I have great expectations of the “Artist File” series in that they are held on the premise of not setting a specific theme, and so the assessment of the series depends on the abilities of the curators in charge. Therefore, it is hard to understand why the organizer of this exhibition uses the same form as that of the “Artist File”, while setting a specific theme. Catalogues of this exhibition were made and sold for each artist. Therefore, the admission fee should also have been set separately for each exhibitor, shouldn’t it?
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Yusuke Minami, “Introduction - The Light: MATSUMOTO Yoko / NOGUCHI Rika -”, “The Light: MATSUMOTO Yoko”, p. 11, The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2009
Since the catalogues of this exhibition were made for each exhibitor, Minami also wrote the same sort of introduction as the above-mentioned in another catalogue of this exhibition entitled “The Light: NOGUCHI Rika” (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2009).
Last Updated on July 05 2010

Related Articles

| EN |