forms of time, the poiesis and the way – thinking from Koki Tanaka’s artworks and texts


forms of time, the poiesis and the way – thinking from Koki Tanaka’s
artworks and texts


9.3 – 30, 2017



Date: 3 to 30 September 2017
Opening hours:
Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00-19:00
Sunday: 12:00-18:00
Closed on Monday, Tuesday and national holidays

Curated by Sekai Kozuma
Design: Shun Ishizuka
Koki Tanaka is one of the artists receiving great attention, not just domestically, but internationally, for receiving Special Mention at the 55th Venice Biennale and Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2015, and is also regarded as a person who represents the contemporary art scene after the emergence of the term “relational aesthetics.” As is obvious for an important artist, a lot of critiques have already been generated on Tanaka’s artwork: in many cases, his artistic practices are summarized in the context of “from phenomenon to act, and to collective act.” Therefore, many might not understand the meaning of planning an exhibition of an artist whose reputation is already being solidified, by a young curator with little authority.

However, I have regarded Koki Tanaka as an artist who has written many interesting texts in which he discusses issues important for critique, along with the production of artwork. As an avid reader of Tanaka’s text, I have interpreted a series of his artworks from the viewpoint inherent in the artist himself through which I had a vague idea that there would be different ways of interpretation other than the preceding “from phenomenon to act, and to collective act.” In other words, I envisioned that Tanaka’s artwork might had been interpreted in ways different from his original purpose, and, fundamental but new issues would be depicted through rediscovering the problems and their solutions put forth by the artist himself.

Based on the above interest, in order to design this exhibition, I first deciphered Tanaka’s earliest artwork and enormous amount of texts. Based on that reading, I explicitly described the principle and attitude underlying his artistic activity. It was a journey to follow his path of production and thinking. By thinking back on a sequence of his artwork up until the present based on the point found by the description, the potential of the Tanaka’s artwork was maximally expanded in light of his original intention.

And, fortunately, while describing his production and methods, this process also prompted a rethink of the production and methods I use. Because his themes that he had confronted sincerely (differences in viewpoints among “creator” / “viewer” / “artwork” and styles of relationship among “act of creating” / “artwork” / “act of viewing”: they either confine or expand the “concept of time” under some conditions) were located near ones that I had intellectualized. Our thoughts resonated with each other and brought mine to a major transformation.

Tanaka published a text “The world – variation in speed – regarding ‘slowness’ of conceptual art” under the alias Nobi Chijimi and received the 3rd Musashino Art University Press Critique Award in 2000. He conducted an analysis of contemporary society in the text and brought to light two issues of “disconnection” and “intimidation,” and considered “artwork” as a means of resistance against them. In 2017, these issues became much more serious than when it was written, and the significance to learn from his artwork and methods seems to be intensifying. However, his “artwork” will accept diverse viewpoints even beyond the artist’s intention, and, as is shown in another text, varieties of different interpretations will be generated individually through multiple concepts of time. Needless to say, my interpretation is also nothing more than a partial and small (possibly huge) example against the fertile ground of time potentially contained in Tahaka’s artwork. However, I would be grateful if my trial could free the point of view and style of relationship that is conducive to one fixed understanding, in order to discover countless forms of time in the exhibition space, and subsequently, new paths to different relationships over his artwork can be generated through various viewpoints.