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Tetsuya CHIDA
Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA   
Published: March 12 2009

fig. 1 "Arbeit" (2009); acrylic on canvas, a pair of 53.0cm X 45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 2 "egg" (2009); acrylic on canvas, a pair of 45.5cm X 53cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 3 "Rabbit" (2009); oil painting on canvas, a pair of 238.0cm X 45.5cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 4 "Encounter" (2009); acrylic on canvas, a pair of 91.0cm X 72.7cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 5 "Me" (2009); acrylic on canvas, 90.9cm X 116.7cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

fig. 6 "Study" (2009); acrylic on canvas, 90.9cm X 116.7cm copy right(c) Tetsuya CHIDA

     Three months have passed since his last solo-exhibition at GALLERY b.TOKYO.*1 Although the interval has been short, we see progress in his artworks in this new solo-exhibition of six newly-released artworks, and which took place at Gallery Q from March 9, 2009 to March 14, 2009.
     He continues to focus on the motif of a woman and a mask*2 which caught my attention at the last solo-exhibition, although I would like to begin with the fact that four out of the six artworks constitute a pair of paintings composed of a duo of a masked and an unmasked woman. In each artwork, the two women are the same person judging from their appearance and clothes.

     In "Arbeit" (acrylic on canvas, a pair of 53.0cm X 45.5cm, 2009) [fig.1] and "egg" (acrylic on canvas, a pair of 45.5cm X 53cm, 2009) [fig. 2], the left woman wears a mask but the right woman does not. In "Rabbit" (oil painting on canvas, a pair of 238.0cm X 45.5cm, 2009) [fig. 3] and "Encounter" (acrylic on canvas, a pair of 91.0cm X 72.7cm, 2009) [fig. 4], the right woman wears a mask but the left woman does not. "Me" (acrylic on canvas, 90.9cm X 116.7cm, 2009) [fig. 5] and "Study" (acrylic on canvas, 90.9cm X 116.7cm, 2009) [fig. 6] are both single items but they also feature a pair of women.

     What does this pair composition mean? We understand his concept clearer compared to the artworks displayed in the last solo-exhibition. The important point is the relationship between the two women; the exposed real face of a woman increases the vividness of the masked woman, which further increases that of the barefaced woman.
     The white shirt, cardigan, checkered mini-skirt, and navy-blue knee socks in "Arbeit" form the typical Japanese high school girl costume. A girl is more appropriate in this case than a woman. However, referring to "She calls papa" shown at the last exhibition in which a masked girl is making a phone call, it is quite certain that "Arbeit" in the title does not have the general meaning of part-time job, but instead means prostitution, or ‘compensated dating’ as it is sometimes called. The term, "compensated dating", became popular nationwide in the late 1990s. Chida, who, like me, was born in 1982, must remember the spread of the word in our generation. Around the time we were at school there were always some girls who were rumored to be prostitutes. Whether it was true or not, it made us feel the girls were more glamorous. That might be a distorted perspective of adolescent boys, nevertheless, an ambivalent attitude of males towards girls is distinctly expressed in this work.

     From the above, you may think Chida just added something extra to the past artworks, but the biggest difference between his latest and previous solo-exhibitions is the desolate atmosphere in the new artworks. In the last exhibition, we felt the women wearing masks gave strength to each artwork but this has turned into weakness in the latest exhibition. Regarding the last solo-exhibition, I wrote that "He expresses strong, tough women and shameless men in general, including himself". Looking at the bare face with the mask removed, it is impossible to describe only one aspect like strength or weakness. In "Study", one girl remains standing with a disappointed look while the other is reading a picture book, and has a huge head. In "Encounter", one girl ruefully watches the other while kneeling down. In these two artworks, the asymmetry between the inside and outside of a person which is never understood unambiguously is expressed. The composition is also clear in four out of the six artworks, but not in "Arbeit" and "Rabbit", in which a bare-faced woman stares at a masked one. All I can do is just stare at my alter ego inside me. The entirely scrubbed matiere amplifies the pain caused by a breakdown in communication between my internal and external self. It is not "the other" that we do not understand, but "myself". The interruption of communication here is not with another but with myself.
     Can his work be interpreted only by people of a certain generation? Or is it possible to have a wider sympathy? I will consider not only his artworks but also how they will be accepted. (Translated by Chisato Kushida)

Tetsuya Chida Solo-Exhibition Review by Satoshi Koganesawa, Jan 3, 2009
I use the word "mask", for convenience. The appearance varies from an inorganic one such as a machine to an organic one, as if flesh covers the face; however, covering or screening the face is something the works have in common. This is the reason I use the word "mask".
Last Updated on October 27 2015

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