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3331 Independents Exhibition Selectors' Comments in the Critic Session

Since the opening of 3331 Arts Chiyoda, the Chiyoda Art Festival has been held every year in autumn with the wish that more people will come to participate. This year is now the third year in which "3331 Independents" has been realized. What follows are the comments from the selectors of the award-wining works. This year again there were over 300 works shown in the exhibition, and both the guests and the participants appeared to enjoy "the Independents of this generation".
From January 26th (Sat), 2013 works of nine scholarship award winners, including eight artists selected by this year's guests, and one artist receiving the audience award, will be shown in an exhibition in the 3331 main gallery. Expectations are high!

Guest critic Takashi Azumaya, who participated in the 3331 Independents critic session, passed away on 16th October, 2012. Our deepest condolences go to his family. His comments have been included here as they were received during his lifetime.

September 16th (Sun), 2012 13:00-18:00
Guest A Group / Jun Aoki, Masato Nakamura
Guest B Group / Takashi Azumaya, Meo Saito

Guest A Group / Ryota Kuwakubo, Naoki Sato
Guest B Group / Yuko Shiomi, Yuichi Mori

Jun Aoki Award: Otoha Takenami "Marumaru Sekai"

Otoha Takenami:Marumaru Sekai

Jun Aoki

Comment: Jun Aoki (architect)
Amongst the numerous works gathered here, each testing ideas out in very different ways, I was met with surprise, delight, satisfaction, and doubts about the worlds presented to me as I walked around the exhibition, and yet there was one work in which I couldn't help but take an interest. This was Otoha Takenami's series of 4 drawings. And with the kind of sentiment that "a day spent just watching the TV is no good at all!", where after trying to do many different things you still end up with no result, and these attempts at action simply come to idly accumulate, and even more in doing so you become depressed with a sense of helplessness and being brought to feel this kind of cold emptiness, I wondered what would happen if I were to engage myself once more with this person's work after it were presented with a higher level of completion and so I selected this it for the scholarship.

Masato Nakamura Award: Kazuyuki Miyamoto "Toward 0 Coordinates"

Kazuyuki Miyamoto:Toward 0 Coordinates

Masato Nakamura

Comment: Masato Nakamura (artist, 3331 general director)
At first glance, I thought this work had taken the theme of the disaster, but on reading the text and seeing the twitter comments and photos, I realized that the work was the result of a performance realized between April 17th and May 17th, 2012, in which the canvas was "dragged". From Ryozen-ji Temple in Naruto City, Tokushima prefecture, to Okubo temple in Sanuki City, Kagawa prefecture, he really dragged the work along while walking the Pilgrimage route of the 88 temples of the Shikoku. The artist started at first with the twitter message, "There’s too much noise in me. There exist both an 'I' which sees, and an 'I' which thinks. There are too many 'I's. In order to integrate them, I think of trying to rid myself of them. In dragging the canvas, I am aiming at an artwork the physical form of which has reached a zero point". This work is still captured in the midst of youth yet this earnest expression in the pursuit of a form of purity, leaves us with a high expectation.

Takashi Azumaya Award: micarinko “Hair Collage”

micarinko:Hair Collage

Takashi Azumaya

Comment: Takashi Azumaya (Independent Curator)
What I felt about several of the works I came across during the critic session was that too many ideas were being pushed into each work, resulting in the diffusion of its impact. And when facing this problem of diffusion I think it is important to remove something. In order to make a cutting piece of work it is necessary to abstract the elements which are imbued with the essential idea. And it is with this thought that my attention was caught by micarinko’s “Hair Collage”. The collage seems to be made up of the hair cut out from photos of models in fashion magazines. The waves formed across the surface make it look as if it were alive. The work is limited to only photos of hair, all other elements are removed, and the work’s physicality has been lost. What really interested me was the tension between the relief built up by the collage and the complete flatness of its backing mount. And the removal of anything else on the surface apart from the collage, placed upon a plain white background makes the contents stand out even more. I would like to see some work on a larger scale in the scholarship exhibition.

Meo Saito Award: Yusuke Sagara “Paving 01” “Paving 02” “Paving 03”

Yusuke Sagara “Paving 01” “Paving 02” “Paving 03”

Meo Saito

Comment: Meo Saito (artist)
As I walked into the gallery I anticipated to be met with an array of unprecedented and nonchalant works associated with such an independents exhibition, but the colours and materials which appeared at first glance to be so boundless sank in much the same way with a certain amateurishness. Amongst these, this work shone with the dark brightness of oxidized silver, akin to an misfortunate swordsman in a fortunate age who, even though he has no task in hand, he continues to silently forge the arm of a sword. Despite his rather dandy-like appearance upon seeing the artist, I was met with the light of his dark eyes which had the special earnestness of a young artist. In a critic session in which "earnestness" was a word which kept appearing, here I could see a deep willingness to adhere to a creative practice despite hard work and futility, and a resolve to go beyond mere pastime and live by his work.
A smooth cross-section of some collective form made of countless units, which aren’t quite pebbles, aren’t quite cells. And if you look closer you can see that this surface has been drawn, its delicate relief giving rise to a sense of touch. It also gives the sense that he is still wielding his weapon. I hope to see the development of this work so that we may see the shine of this dark crystal created by an arduous hand, and the different forms it may take.

Ryota Kuwakubo Award: Ryota Shimamoto “Body Receptacles”

Ryota Kuwakubo Award: Ryota Shimamoto:Body Receptacles

Ryota Kuwakubo

Comment: Ryota Kuwakubo (media artist)
I was captivated by Ryota Shimamoto’s “Body Receptacle”. In this particular presentation the vessels were placed on a round table, crammed into a small space, calling for some improvement upon the selection of items and their placement, but each piece was carefully made, with a high level of completion.
The work is made from impressions of various parts of the artist’s body and even if he goes on to refine the work as products, or comes to present them as art work, the starting point is most interesting and I look forward to future developments.
I think even if the work were to be made for a particular person, or it were to focus on a particular area of the body, or to be used for actually eating, or crossed with the techniques of other countries, it has the potential to become a work with a particular universality. It is a special thing to touch someone’s body and put your mouth to it. It is probably an action which you only perform with a particular person. But it is really interesting that the person who becomes these vessels may serve a great many people with food and drink.

Naoki Sato Award: Masashi Nakamura “Girls’ Talk”

Masashi Nakamura:Girls'Talk

Naoki Sato

Comment: Naoki Sato (Art Director of ASYL, Design director of 3331, Associate professor of Tama Art University)
Firstly I thought “what are they doing inside the smart phone?” Do I really want to get inside? But perhaps it is quite an issue whether I want to get in or whether I want to get involved with the “girls talk”. But I don’t know what it means to make yourself present in such a space. Probably it is something that no one knows at this time. At the same time as wanting to listen to the conversation, I also had a feeling that it would be better not to listen and leave it be, and in the end I didn’t listen to it but it really had an impact on me. When made to think about such things maybe we hit upon something. Since digital media has been pervading our world everyone has supposedly thought about such things. But it is just enough keeping up with all the functions and services available, so we get tired of always thinking about the social effects, and now we use these ever popular devices to excess.

Yuko Shiomi Award: Sari Doi “Cosmic Lovers”

Sari Doi「Cosmic Lovers」

Yuko Shiomi

Comment: Yuko Shiomi (Head of Artist Initiative Tokyo – AIT)
As it is an independents exhibition I approached the jury without deciding first what kind of work to be on the look out for. On the day I went around the gallery, and whilst talking to the artists standing in front of their works I carried out my survey. And without indicating one singular intention when the work of Sari Doi’s caught my eye, I felt that I wanted to see more. Furthermore when I talked with her, she commented that she had to be an artist and couldn’t become any other kind of person, the strength and resolve of which I found to be quite impressive.
While the overall exhibition was rather overwhelming with so many kinds of works, they were mostly 2D works so those which were 3D stood out. In a system in which participants pay a fee according to the size of their exhibiting space this may be a result of the limitation but I would like to see more work which further deviates from this standard.

Yuichi Mori Award: Go Watabe “Landscape of abstract city”

Go Watabe:Landscape of abstract city

Yuichi Mori

Comment:Yuichi Mori (Head of MORI YU GALLERY)
Go Watabe’s “Landscape of abstract city” is a collage work made from cut outs of magazine images and text of various printed matter. It may perhaps be taken as a reflection of the contemporary city in which reality is hard to grasp. If we think of Japanese collage then the work of Shinro Ohtake comes to mind, but this work is in the very opposite taste to his. What appears at first glance to be a very logically structured way of pasting the collage, when observed closely reveals interestingly that most of the images which Watabe uses are those of people and characters upon which he appears to have attached masks. Within the condition of the city’s shallow abstraction we find a hidden multitude of personalities, and this collage allows us to appreciate the city in this way, creating a certain kind of uncanniness. However through the passing of time, those characters which had seemed strangely abstracted come to gather a sense of the real, and it is as if some will is forming behind the mask ready to break out. This is in the opposite meaning to Freud’s unheimlich (unhomely), for it is as if that which was originally disquieting becomes familiar and homely.
Watabe’s work, which can be interpreted as a satire upon the vagueness of the contemporary city, takes hold of the diverse and concrete expressions of city, along with its rather unfortunate abstraction and thrusts in upon it a wedge of reality. And while enabling the opposite of the uncanny, wafting the words of magazines and young people which are losing their real meaning around the abstract city, we may observe a salvaging of their essential meaning. I was really surprised at the number of serious works which can be found in the independents exhibition which is open to all sorts of free expression. By drowning in the strange sea of freedom, perhaps one can grasp a dynamic original way to swim. But while taking into consideration the response of the reader (viewer), have I been falsely tricked? A collage of noise and the direct opposite; While understanding this duality, amongst the difference of dimensions we may discover the interest of independents and I look forward to Watabe’s next work.

Audience Award: Takuya Komaba “Light of Hope”

Takuya Komaba “Light of Hope”

3331 Arts Chiyoda

Comment from 3331
This is a work inspired by a day amongst the mountains. Lying upon the ground, looking up, with the sun shining through the trees. The scene of a forest seen on a day when sunbeams pierce through the dancing leaves. The beautiful colour of light and dark, changing with each moment until disappearing somewhere. As if facing a friend who fades away like a sound, I stood in-front of the canvas with my mind fixed upon it.
Komaba is a self-taught artist, living in the suburbs a little away from the main city, where one can feel a certain closeness to nature. He comments “I can learn much as I touch the sea, the mountains and the wind and appreciate myself as part of these elements. And I create my work with the intention of drawing this flow of nature through myself.”