Here and Beyond
10:00am - 6:00pm,October 28 - December 10, 2017 / Admission Free
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photo: YAMAMOTO Tadasu
Heading toward lines to draw
Motoyama says that she was not able to focus on the act of painting, and blocking painting contexts and personal thoughts, she faces only the act of “drawing a superior line.”(*1)Included in this exhibition is her “Drawing paper series” in which she breaks down many elements such as motifs included in painting, compositions, and how to draw lines, reviewing her way of dealing with them one by one and leaving only what she thinks are necessary. Looking closely at the pictures arranged, you cannot grasp the materiality of paint directly because the surface is blocked by an acrylic board and you will realize that they are painted on the backside of the board. The matière that could convey time and emotions by layers of paint is made uniform by turning over the picture to urge the viewer to concentrate on appreciating the lines only. The lines seem free and easy at a glance and look humorous sometimes. I would like to explain the process of how the line and the face seen on the surface appear in Motoyama’s painting.
In the figures drawn in Motoyama’s pictures, the lines that are necessary for us to recognize what are drawn are cut down to the minimum. There is no information for explanation. Looking at the title to know if it shows a person or maybe a plate, the viewer finds a word that indicates nothing but what is drawn, and turns his/her attention to the presence of the lines that certainly look like that thing. The lines are drawn based on digital drawings. Daily scenes, still objects and landscapes chosen after excluding personal feelings and narratives are repeatedly drawn quickly over and over again to be stored as data. As the traces of matière such as overlaps of lines and textures do not remain in digital data, the judgment is made only by figures drawn by lines. Furthermore, there she takes time to examine carefully the quality of line, face and composition, and narrows down to several images. What is presented as a work is a picture drawn with paint on the acrylic board, and these drawings that are initially made are neither rough sketches nor studies, but “motifs” to see when she draws her works. Easily erasing lines or putting them back again means to move away from the act of drawing at the moment and to do a task like preparing a motif, that is the subject such as a still object when drawing a picture. For her to concentrate solely on drawing superior lines while looking at them on the acrylic board, it is an important process because it is necessary to decide all the elements such as composition and shape at this stage.
There is no ground in the painting space on a transparent support, and as the title of the picture indicates, a drawing paper itself should be painted to begin with. Of course, there will be times to draw a ground as the background on the support, but she dares to use “drawing paper” as the title to indicate that the white surface is that drawing paper, and by painting a drawing paper, which is originally equivalent to a pictorial support, she presents its existence in front of us and shows the conversion. Even when it is a ground, there are gradations emerging from different degrees of thickness of white paint and shapes created by drippings of paint, so it can be regarded as the same level as the figure. This drawing paper to be drawn can change its size freely depending on the artist’s will, and even the rule that a sheet of “paper for painting” is square will no longer exist.
Furthermore, in terms of method of display, showing an acrylic board itself as a substance is adopted rather than displaying a picture as a space. Instead of hanging a painting on the wall like the so-called painting style, pedestals are made under these pictures and they are “placed on” them. Also it shows the existence of the backside by leaning them against the wall at an angle and painting seems to suggest that it is a “thing” with the back side and the front side. Also an acrylic board as an industrial product has been used so much in our recent life that it has become too familiar and reminds us of the monitor screen that has lost matière as in a smartphone and personal computer we are staring at in search of images. Handling it is a very natural thing in the era of digital native artists. It can be said that this transparent board was essential in Motoyama’s method of eliminating one element by drawing from the back. And in addition, the paint’s drops, movements and gradations due to overlapping that are seen through the transparent surface and appear on the white background capture the eyes of the viewer and emerge from the surface.
Her method of reducing elements in order to explore and learn what the picture is for her by drawing lines well will urge the viewer to reconsider the existing concept of painting. She feels futile that what supports the fundamentals of painting is only the system of art that has been in a way imported from the West.(*2) From another viewpoint, however, her method could be realized in contemporary art that has an aspect of breaking down the system of art in the past.
Nevertheless, it seems that Motoyama does not aim for rethinking or overturning the concept of painting so far. Now things are overflowing and as she feels a sense of crisis in the tide that seems to slip away in a defenseless state, she seriously confronts the medium of painting as to what she should draw. We can feel her will to draw a picture in each one of free and easy lines as well as forms. The hands of people who make or depict things will re-emerge in the systematized process from drawing to the final work. And artists draw lines to confirm the pleasure of drawing a picture, and they can also remind viewers of such pleasure and have them deepen their thoughts.
*1 TAKADA Maru, Meeting of painting 2016; Archives, Analyses, and First Remarks.
*2 Interview with the artist during the residence program, September 22, 2017.
(translate: NISHIZAWA Maki)
Drawing paper (Wood and Person)
Drawing paper (Big dish, Person)
Drawing paper (Book)
Drawing paper (Rock or Hole, two People)
Drawing paper (One has two Stones)
Drawing paper (Stick and Person _Right)
Drawing paper (Stick and Person_left)
Drawing paper (Sea and Moon)
Drawing paper (Bowl)
(above all) photo: YAMAMOTO Tadasu