This is how the journey begins - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

This is how the journey begins

Tatsuya Sugimoto

 “To travel is to live.”
 Hans Christian Andersen: The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography


 In May 2021, I travelled to Copenhagen, where it was still cold, to do an exhibition with Mr. L. I was drawn to the words “Travelling is Life”, which I came across in the book “The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography” by the Danish fairy tale poet Christian Andersen, and chose the Danish word for “on a journey” as the title for the exhibition. 《Travel to Double Landscapes》 is a collection of wooden sculpture based on my ten-day travelogue – I would ask people I met on the street “where is the landscape depicted here?”, showing the abstract landscape painting I found in Copenhagen. In the end, 14 people told me about a particular place, but no two places were alike, and I went through their memories as I visited them. This work establishes a relationship between the properties of wood and the fragility and transience of memories, as the landscape carved into the wood changes as the wood dries out.

 Through this exhibition I met Mr S. and we talked about each other’s works and exhibitions, and we discussed some issues of re-locating or re-contextualising works, especially in site-specific art and how to remove the context rooted in each place and transfer only the event (the work) to another place. I was able to get in touch with some things that are essential for my future work. This resulted in a coffee table book based on the photographs and drawings of landscapes I collected during the process, at birthday parties and environmental meetings I was invited to, events that were an essential part of my search for landscapes, whether I was interested in them or not. The landscapes that inspired me to make this work have returned to the same place after the exhibition, so I hope this booklet will act as a substitute for them, inviting the reader on a journey that will lead to other thoughts and connections.

 At the exhibition in Hamburg in February 2022 I presented the works 《Transit》 and 《Flügel – Anbau》. The《Transit》is a series of six bellows that connect the vehicles of a bus. When standing in the aisle of the bus, the lower half of the body bends in the same direction at every turn, requiring delicate balance and spectacular steps to stand in that part of the body. I was interested in the connection between the two opposing spaces on the bus and the sudden passage within one space. The location of the installation was a big challenge, but after visiting the university library and reading the original plans and books about the construction of the building, it was a new experience to see that the walls in the current exhibition space were not on the plans and that the original doors and windows were visible. The work allowed visitors to walk along a single, bell-shaped path through architectural spaces that no longer exist and have been renovated, so they came to appreciate a diversion that allowed them to get from one space to another. For《Flügel – Anbau》was created with the theme of a situation where an object needs to be seen through something inspired by my friends’ careful observation of the empty ceiling of my studio, from which they heard sounds around 5pm. To find the source of the noise, I asked an exterminator to examine the ceiling, walls and surrounding areas of the studio and exhibition space. The questionnaire was hung in a wooden frame on the wall of the exhibition space so that people reading the text could actually look up at the ceiling and see the invisible gaps to see the exterminator’s special investigation on the ceiling of that wall.

 As for my future activities, I will continue my research on the discoveries that come from communicating with the people I meet around me and on the elements that expand the system. For example, the way we use pots. (Is there a right way to use an object?). It’s not about boiling water and drinking tea or coffee, maybe there are other ways to use the pot without damaging it. Or maybe there is a way of using the pot that the pot itself might misunderstand, as if to say, “Maybe this is what I’m really doing”. I am also interested in the psychology of behaves. By changing the meaning and context in which the pot is placed, rather than just using it as a pot to make a cup of coffee or to make a cup of coffee taste good, I think it is possible to place the pot in a different context than the one in which it is normally placed. It is a process of changing the context, of shifting the meaning. I want to redraw these boundaries through my work, to go into a world where I can change things, and I feel that art is liberating.

“Air Channel” by Tatsuya Sugimoto: Exhibition “Jahresausstellung 2022” at HFBK Hamburg, Germany, on 11-13 Feb. 2022



Artist Support Project #TuneUpforECoC: Supported Arist