“Cosmic Travelers - Toward the Unknown” Exhibition

Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo

poster for “Cosmic Travelers - Toward the Unknown” Exhibition

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For its third exhibition, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo presents its first group show entitled “Cosmic Travelers – Toward the Unknown”. This is also its first show dedicated to Japanese contemporary scene and attests its desire to acknowledge the long-standing relationship between Louis Vuitton and Japan. Within an artistic and institutional landscape paying an increasing attention to young artists, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo wishes to present a dissonant but complementary point of view. Around the historically grounded figure of Noriyuki Haraguchi, who firmly embodies the links between Western and Japanese avant-gardes, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo will present artists from two different generations, representing various trends and media.

The word “cosmic” means many things. While the most universal meaning for the word relates to our universe referencing outer space, its connotations are manifold; it can mean limitlessness, infinity, liberal and unifying. As a metaphor, “cosmic” is a state of being with expansive associations, and when combined with the word “travelers,” it becomes a journey of the mind and body involving the senses, intuition, emotions and thoughts. It is in this sense that we are all cosmic travelers moving through space and time searching for truth and the meaning of life.

The five artists selected for the exhibition - Noriyuki Haraguchi, Ataru Sato, Tomoko Shioyasu, Masakatsu Takagi and Go Watanabe - are all forerunners in exploring the multitudes of cosmic aspects in their creative processes. In conceiving new works for the light filled space of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, the artists have inevitably incorporated this predominant feature into their works, but each on their own terms. Just as light is the source of all life and the underlining principal for creation, so too, here, it is the unifying element between the artworks presented.

Haraguchi is known for his use of discarded or no-longer functional industrial materials to make simple geometrical structures that reveal a hidden relationship between space and materials in a way that challenges our perception of reality. He has created site-specific works since the Seventies, and for this exhibition, he presents “Triad”, which consists of the three deeply related pieces including an aluminum container with a black liquid filled to the rim. The lacquer-like surface reflects the surrounding space with stunning clarity paradoxically disclosing its overwhelming solidity as an illusion. Interacting with the immense structure of the space, where the polarities of light and shadow are unified, this work transforms the space into a charged field of exquisitely balanced and composed forms.

Sato sensed sacredness from the exhibition space where the abundant natural light continuously streams through the glasses, and he created a portrait of a god entitled “Sign”. His provocative and diabolic visions are composed of convoluted amalgamations of deformed, fragmented body parts, internal organs and bodies cut wide open, unknown creatures, faces of people, animals and bugs. What might be called “trans-surrealistic, micro-maniac” portrait invites us past the surface into the vast stretches of a deep mysterious world within. Sato will also create his work with the universe as its theme in a live performance over several sessions.

Shioyasu makes exquisitely detailed paper-cuttings that transform the traditional decorative medium of Kiri-e into a dynamic harmony of patterns emulating natural elements such as water droplets, bubbles and cells. A large piece of paper work, eight meters in length and two meters in width, floats in the exhibition space just as its title “Flowing Sky” refers. Her other piece, “Bubbles”, a three-dimensional collage of round shapes made with pierced holes in synthetic paper, floats freely in an acrylic case. Astoundingly subtle interplays of light and shadow literally create and quietly amplify, through intricately cut patterns, a sense of harmony and interconnectedness between the visible and the invisible.

Watanabe creates new worlds in landscapes with animated surfaces. He crafts images with a variety of digital techniques, taking everyday objects from interior spaces as well as landscapes for his motifs, paring them down to their essential components and giving autonomy and freedom of movement to their surfaces. For this exhibition, he presents “one landscape, a journey”, an animated landscape composed of everyday cups and bowls stacked in a kitchen sink that is based on the panoramic landscape seen through the glass walls of the exhibition space. Suggesting a world in constant motion, Watanabe’s work reveals the origins of the word animation, the imparting of anima or soul to inorganic objects. The way he gives motion to the objects encourages us to consider the possibility of another dimension of reality in which all things are alive and conscious.

Multi-media artist Takagi’s work offers multi-dimensional adventures in virtual dreamscape through free association. It is a “moving painting” that brings forth a delightful feeling of riding on the oceanic waves of constantly changing color and form. For this exhibition, Takagi presents a visionary landscape that simulates the energy and radiance of the sun in which elements of fluid color and form merge and coalesce to form a larger whole, eventually creating a symphony of energy that transforms our inner vision.

All five of these artists are Cosmic Travelers in every possible sense of the term as the configuration of the exhibition mimics the vortex of cosmic energy already moving within the space. Walking through this exhibition literally becomes a journey from the darkness into the light offering a dynamic rhythm to the overall experience, in which visitors will be provided different traveling experiences every time they visit the exhibition.

Curator: Midori Nishizawa

[Image: ©Louis Vuitton / Jérémie Souteyrat, Courtesy of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo]

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Schedule

From 2012-01-21 To 2012-05-06
Open everyday during exhibition period. Closed on Feb 6th.

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