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Written by Mizuki TANAKA   
Published: May 10 2010

    We are hungry for things we have never seen before.  We are continuously consuming a lot of information available via television, magazines, newspapers and the Internet since we are not satisfied by finding out about things that we already know.  Nonetheless, what we really want to get is not something new.  Instead, I suppose, we are seeking fresh eyes.  The exhibition held at Plaza Gallery in Chofu City, Tokyo, made me notice things in this manner.
    Exhibits in the latest installation by Yoichiro Yoshikawa, who has been creating sculptures for many years, include his recent stereoscopic work and seven prints, as well as seven small objects made some years ago.

fig. 1 "Interior paysage system" (2010); iron/wood/lens/objects, courtesy of the artist and Plaza Gallery

fig. 2 "Tore-reader" (2009); 135cm×49cm×50cm, pedestal/iron/plywood/turntable/CCD camera/LCD monitor/LED cable, courtesy of the artist and Plaza Gallery

    Yoshikawa’s newest work entitled “Interior paysage system” (2010, iron/wood/lens/objects) [fig. 1] was a huge installation made by using all of a white wall five meters in size. On the wall, there were a set of small-sized creations made by Yoshikawa and cans and pipes that he had picked up on roads and kept. A huge device was placed in front of them. It was a crisscrossing wood-frame lens installed inside iron frames 250 cm long and 434 cm wide. We could find traces of cutting on the surface of the wooden frame, which made us realize the amount of time the artist had spent creating this work. The lens, similar in size to a human face, made me think of a window in a submarine. Hiding myself while surrounded by the things created by the artist’s hands, I remembered a hiding place I made on a side street in my childhood.
    We could touch the device with our own hands and view the motifs arranged on the wall by moving the lens to the position just in front of us. It was interesting to peer through the microscopes. It made me realize the beauty of the small objects since the parts of the motifs overlapped with each other. The angles at which they seemingly popped out into the air were enlarged and clearly appeared in front of us through the lens. In addition, this was a refreshing creation. It enabled us to view the materials and colorful paints on the surface of the work in great detail as well as also highlighting other parts. It allowed us the experience of taking our time to view interesting aspects and various details of the exhibit. Furthermore, the lens was used effectively to give us a wondrous impression of cans attached to the wall. Looking at the cans through the lens, one notices a number of scabrous specs of rust scattered on their surfaces and this leaves a fragile impression looking at the ripped-off part at the top of the cans.

    There seemed to be an element in common between the things created by the artist and those selected by him. Both of them included things that made us appreciate their presence in the display space though they were small enough to fit in the palm of our hands. While viewing both these “things”, we came to feel as if we were gradually beginning to relive the artist’s perspective. Viewing the details of these “things” so closely using this device, enabled the viewers to acquire new insights into and about them. It was also notable that we became conscious of the angles from which we looked at the installation. Viewers also came to appreciate that through operating this device, they were viewing things that they would not be able to enjoy seeing with the naked eye or by just moving their faces closer to the lens. We were made think about what we were viewing and got lulled into the illusion that we ourselves had become smaller. In this way, we realized how amazing it is to be able to understand something viewing it with our own eyes. Besides the above-mentioned installation, this exhibition showcased another device which was something like a pair of binoculars. Using this device, we were able to view landscapes from a low standpoint like that of children or small animals. The exhibit was titled “Tore-reader” (2009, 135 cm × 49 cm × 50 cm, pedestal/iron/plywood/turntable/ CCD camera/LCD monitor/LED cable) [fig. 2]. Like the “Interior paysage system”, this device was also created to provide viewers with new perspectives.

    Taking all the creations shown in this exhibition into consideration, viewers were able to trace the history of Yoshikawa’s creative activities through which he has tried various kinds of expression. His works seem to have one thing in common: they reflect his attitude of attempting to examine relationships among different things by valuing the feeling he has in his own hands and skin. We should not forget such an exciting experience we got through these exhibits Yoshikawa’s exciting exhibits will not be easily forgotten by their viewers. Viewpoints newly learned through our experiences must change our perspectives of the world and become our valuable possessions which would never be lost wherever we are. New ways of viewing things such as those gained through this exhibition can change viewers’ perceptions of, and ways of, experiencing things in the world around them. Such valuable insights will remain with viewers for a long time.
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Last Updated on July 04 2010

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