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Kiichiro ADACHI: Shangri-La 2
Written by Tomohiro MASUDA   
Published: November 11 2009

fig. 1 View from the exhibition of Kiichiro Adachi "Shangri-La 2", photo by Shintaro Yamanaka, couetesy of YUKA CONTEMPORARY

fig. 2 "Santo-Mari" (2009); photo by Shintaro Yamanaka, couetesy of YUKA CONTEMPORARY

fig. 3 "OOM (Out Of Mercy)" (2009); photo by Shintaro Yamanaka, couetesy of YUKA CONTEMPORARY

fig. 4 "hebiichigo" (2009); photo by Shintaro Yamanaka, couetesy of YUKA CONTEMPORARY

     The statement which Kiichiro Adachi contributed for this exhibition was written under the theme of doubt about an illusion of coexisting with nature. In his statement, he poses questions about deception, such as considering the protection of nature, which is possible only under the control of human beings, including natural parks which give us an odd image, the eerie presence of favorite pets or dubious proposition of ‘eco’, as symbiosis with nature. Can we regard nature which has been altered as original nature?

     The November issue of the magazine, Wedge, features the “25% reduction” in CO2 emissions proposed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Hatoyama. In fact, the issue focuses on the costs of reducing the CO2 emissions and its (adverse) effect on the economy, but it has absolutely failed to consider the ethical meaning of ‘eco’ and the reasons why ‘eco’ is needed. Basically, the Wedge is a business magazine although recently it has claimed to be a general magazine. Therefore, aside from essential questions about eco-related issues?, it is considered to be natural that this magazine considers the economic impact of ‘eco-issues’ as a problem. Nevertheless, assuming that we will face difficulties in our lives in the future unless we limit CO2 emissions, we should never discharge CO2 in the least regardless of other matters, such as economic status and political skills. Why is it then impossible for us to avoid emitting CO2? The reason would be that our life is supported by a strangled nature. Therefore, we have no other way than keeping control over nature without making it live nor killing it in order to sustain our life as well as to be freed from guilt that we are strangling nature. Kiichiro Adachi’s statement expresses briefly the sentiment that we have been driven into such a helpless situation.

     In Adachi’s new creation, “Santōmari” [fig. 2], a sphere covered with green plants, which seems to represent the earth, is hung from the ceiling. There is a hollow space inside the spherical object and three big holes have been made on the surface of the sphere. A birdcage has been put on the entrance of each hole to close it. Three living birds are fed in this “earth”. The birds can fly freely within the “earth” which seems to be a miniature garden. However, since the space within the “earth” is narrow to some extent, the birds can neither fly high in the “earth” nor fly out of the “earth” naturally due to the existence of the cages. The birds seem to live surrounded by nature, as long as they are in this small miniature garden - the “earth”. In addition, within the “earth”, there are artificial feeding spaces, which contribute to allowing the birds to live comfortably. Nonetheless, their life is absolutely not free, since their habitat is limited to the space inside of the “earth”.

     As shown in the title, the “OOM (Out Of Mercy)” [fig. 3], made in the form of a worm, makes us imagine Oom encountered in the film “Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind”. The creation has a built-in monitor, with which the OOM can move around slowly. Plants and trees grow on the surface of the OOM’s shell which was made using reinforced plastic. Nonetheless, as with the above-mentioned birds, the OOM can also do nothing but form a certain circle since it is connected by a chain to the floor.

     The relationship between nature and its ruler - the order - can be found also in Kiichiro Adachi’s paintings. In his pictures, several drawings were created on spots which were made randomly through the process of drawing lines around paints which appear on a canvas with a technique of dripping. It can be said that his painting series, which gives its viewers a tense image of the relationship between nature and order, indicates a similar tendency to that of his stereoscopic works as I have already noted in this article.

     Incidentally, looking at the exhibits after reading Adachi’s statement about this exhibition, his creations made me feel as if they were something like an exalted independent research as part of junior high school summer homework. In fact, they were completed skillfully and flawlessly, but they seem to lack some nuance.

     Here, casting aside our doubts, let’s fix our eyes on a fairly trivial aspect of “nature”, namely, little bugs hovering in the venue. The worst enemies for galleries and museums are humidity and bugs because they may damage or ruin exhibits. Although the works shown in this exhibition present controlled nature in a metaphor, rotting plants and tree scattered on the floor in the venue (Refer to the “hebiichigo” [fig. 4]) or birds’ droppings which are generated from the “Santōmari” create unsanitary conditions. A number of bugs which seem to have appeared under such an environment are flying around after the OOM moving around and jumping from one painting to another. The bugs can be called small destroyers which may make this white cubic gallery, which creates the order among the exhibits existing as creations, break down not conceptually but physically.

     Even nature which is under the control of order may sometimes become bugs which can violate and destroy this order. Indeed, for many viewers, the implosion of the gallery may be only a trivial matter, but considering the venue as a place to make the exhibits complete as artworks, Kiichiro Adachi’s pieces have an extremely dangerous aspect in that they hold enough power to destroy the place where they themselves have been generated and are controlled. It would be possible to regard this small act of defiance which can be found in his creations as a hope, wouldn’t it?
(Translated by Nozomi Nakayama)

Last Updated on November 02 2015

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