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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Rinko Kawauchi - Ametsuchi at Aperture Gallery - through 2014

rka10                  I had an unexpectedly emotional response looking at pictures from Rinko Kawauchi's latest work Ametsuchi. 

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              I look at photographs in gallery exhibits roughly 7 days out of the week, and I do not normally cry. Looking at Untitled(2012) every picture is called Untitled so, for reference, it's the one that shows a hill, half burned – fire still going directly in the middle of the hill. Approaching Untitled from a critical standpoint, the composition was perfect; and the dichotomy of charred ash to grass seemed to evoke a not just the trite ying/yang, but the past and the future, the latter swallowed inevitably by time(represented by fire).              From a human standpoint I looked at the 3 or 4 preceding pictures, then upon reaching this one, cried. I had to figure out what it was that was making me cry, there seemed no reason for it, I never knew the grass, I have no special attachment to hills, fire or smoke or any of the things in the picture: getting close enough to have the gallery attendant nervous I looked as deeply as possible into the flames; it seemed like faces were there, faces screaming, frowning, smiling, faces eager to eat the hill. That was just the first blow, the entire exhibit had me on the verge of tears, the work is spiritual, eerie, but ultimately pleasant to look upon. It still doesn't make sense.

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Kawauchi shows the tradition of slash and burn cultivation, (the charred earth being full of nutrients for the crops), and shows it in a spiritual light. The most interesting piece of the exhibition is, Untitled (2012), what looks like a starry night sky with a laser beam moving around in strange patterns. I asked the artist what that was doing as it had no immediate connection to the rest of the pieces. It was, she explained, her abstract representation of the entire process.

 

Maryse Alberti - The Pool Series. Sept 14 – Oct 20 2013.

Brandon Fowler Performance Piece.