|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: July 27 2009|
fig. 1 view from Ai Chuda, Solo Exhibition at Galley Buburindo, courtesy of Ai Chuda, copy right(c) Ai CHUDA
fig. 2 "Muku-mori-no-ko" (2009); linen, clay, Japanese paper, mineral pigment, sumi, ink, beast bones, SM, courtesy of Ai Chuda, copy right(c) Ai CHUDA
fig. 3 "flower calendar" (2009); cardboard, pencil, and acrylic gouache, 30.0×20.5cm, courtesy of Ai Chuda, copy right(c) Ai CHUDA
When I encountered Ai Chuda’s works for the first time at the group exhibition entitled “Stars Popping out of Chaos” (Spiral Garden, 2007), I may have considered the works as advanced “Japanese paintings”. At that time, her techniques, such as burning or scraping rather than drawing, probably attracted me because of the intense impression they created of her paintings. She succeeded in emphasizing a motif of the aged, which she has been using in many works, by effectively making picture planes that were burned, cracked or peeled off in part. It can also be said that she succeeded in expressing “wrinkles”, used as a symbolic meaning of age, by scraping paint from the pictures.
Although I have since had some opportunities to look at her creations at solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, events or in her studio at home, my first impression of her works has not changed dramatically. In her solo exhibition last year entitled “Others Inside of Me” (gallery neutron, 2008), the works created were based on an old man’s death. In the recent group exhibition named “Gasoline” (gallery wks., 2009), in which her creations was displayed with those of Senkouji, she presented a set of works which were made using the motif of a laborer. Indeed, the change of motif used in her works, from that employed in the “Others Inside of Me” to that used in the “Gasoline”, made me recognize her wider range of expression regarding life and death, but it can also be pointed out that one thing in common between the works was that they reflected Chuda’s commitment to the subjects depicted in her creations.
Nevertheless, my impression of her works changed absolutely when I visited her solo exhibition held at the Buburindo, though I am not sure if this change was because almost all the exhibits displayed in this exhibition were small in size. Different to many other galleries that look like white cubes, the Buburindo, which is located in a building at Motomachi, Kobe, gives us a warm impression in terms of its characteristic interior accessories, such as old-fashioned tables, chairs and clocks, and a storage space covered with blinds. The Buburindo can be said to be suitable for small-sized exhibits because of its low-ceilinged construction, while there is a wide exhibition space on the wall. Indeed, these characteristics of the gallery contributed partly to the overall impression, but her works presented in this solo exhibition made me feel that Chuda has reached a dramatic turning point in her creative activities [fig. 1].
In this exhibition, we found that Chuda had tried to use motifs which usually give us a vulnerable image, such as babies, children, and flowers, while there were also a few works which evoked for us an intense impression by using old men and laborers as their motifs, the same as before. The exhibition was also unusual in that some exhibits had been made using bright colors. I am not sure if she depicted children in her works before, since I was not consciously aware of children expressed in her creations. However, regarding flowers, I remember that she used them as motifs in earlier works. Nevertheless, in contrast to her previous works, in which flowers gave us an impression of dying because of their matière, as mentioned above, this time the exhibits focused on expressing the life force of flowers [fig. 2]. As Chuda said that all flowers depicted in her paintings in this exhibition were bulb plants, she, in fact, emphasized drawing bulbs in some exhibits. The bulb plants spreading their roots in the ground deeply would probably evoke for us, the viewers, an image of thriving living matter. Just like flowers, children also often give us a fragile impression. Nonetheless, unlike her previous portraits in which she mostly drew people in profile, she depicted children squarely in most of the works shown in this exhibition, which gave me an impression of transparency because of the direct regard of their eyes [fig. 3]. Assuming that Chuda has been expressing “life” through her creations consistently, it can be said that she succeeded in extending her range of expression by using a wider range of subjects than before while keeping her essential concept.
On the other hand, the work entitled “Human Fire” (wax paper, pencil, white color pencil, 32.5cm×24.0cm, 2009) [fig. 4], in which three sides of a human face are depicted in one picture, caught my attention. This work reminded me of sculptures and drawings created by Katsura Funakoshi, in that it depicts metamorphoses of human beings in part while drawing them realistically. Recently, Funakoshi has been trying to create experimental works, such as expressing human ears just like a rabbit’s long ears and drawing ample bosoms and male genitalia in a picture depicting one human body. In fact, it can be said that Chuda has also succeeded in creating works which are considered to be different to common effigies, but they should not be regarded as inhuman effigies. As the effigy of Ashura is not considered to be the same as a monster, I suppose “Human Fire” may have been generated as a result of trying to depict human beings. Chuda’s creations came back to life within our minds not despite but because of the graphic impression of her drawing, created by the use of pencil, and the looseness of her expression. As mentioned above, I considered Chuda’s works as “Japanese paintings” previously. Nevertheless, her works displayed in this exhibition made me describe them as only “pictures” without classifying them into a specific field of art work. The Buburindo, where a number of nail holes representing exhibitors’ souls remain, is where Chuda has succeeded in giving us a new impression of her works.
|Last Updated on July 05 2010|