Youki Hirakawa “Rêve d’artiste La Magie à travers les âges”
[Image: Youki Hirakawa, "Rêve d’artiste La Magie à travers les âges" (2019) Video installation, 4K UHDTV, stereo, 7'30"]
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Youki Hirakawa was born in Aichi in 1983. With the “time and memory” residing in place as a theme, he has produced artworks which examine film as their central motif. His “Lost Films” series of recent years has been highly acclaimed in Japan and abroad and invited to be screened at numerous film festivals. In 2019, these include the International Film Festival Rotterdam(the Netherlands), International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (Germany), and Short Waves Festival (Poland). His major exhibitions include “Until You Fall into a Deep Sleep” (Minokamo City Museum, Gifu, 2013), “Aichi Triennale 2013,” “Sapporo International Art Festival 2014,” and “19th DOMANI: The Art of Tomorrow” (The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2016).
Hirakawa’s second exhibition at Ando Gallery features “Rêve d’artiste La Magie à travers les âges” (“Artist’s Dream Magic through the Ages”), the third piece in the “Lost Films” series he launched in 2017. On a black background projected on a wall, the titles and production years of old French films faintly appear and disappear. The voice of a woman reading the titles fills the gallery. The titles appear at first like a simple listing, yet as we watch, we notice faint connections between them and catch glimpses of poetic meaning and rhythm. All are “lost films”—movies once publicly screened, record of which remains in magazines and posters but whose physical films have been lost. While the whereabouts of about 95% of Japanese films shown until the 1930s are unknown, the percentage of films preserved and restored in France is surprisingly high, a fact underscoring France’s stature as a leading film producer. Of the 1,423 films produced by the Lumière brothers, inventors of cinematograph, from 1895 (when films were invented) to 1905, only 18 have been lost. On the other hand, of the 500 films produced by Georges Méliès, a director active in the same period, about half have been lost. The fact so many Lumière brothers films remain while those of Méliès have “disappeared” truly mirrors the circumstances of these directors’ lives.
Some 80% of the titles composing “Rêve d’artiste La Magie à travers les âges” (“Artist’s Dream Magic through the Ages”) are films directed by Georges Méliès. The inventor of “trick photography” in which objects are made to appear and disappear, Méliès created numerous fantasy works concerned with dreams, illusions, and magic. At his height, he enjoyed international success, but with the death of his wife, his own financial ruin, and the start of World War I, Méliès was unable to continue making films and eventually left the film world. During the war, the French army confiscated many of his films and melted them down to recover silver and celluloid for reuse. In 1923, enraged at losing his studio and theater, Méliès set fire to the negatives of his films he had in storage.
“Rêve d’artiste La Magie à travers les âges” (“Artist’s Dream Magic through the Ages”) may contain a message from Méliès, discovered by Hirakawa in a list of the director’s lost film works. The fire set by Méliès to his films worked its magic—the films were made to “disappear” until a future time when they would again “appear.” Such was Méliès’ dream; and it is also Hirakawa’s.
from June 05, 2019 to August 10, 2019
Opening Reception on 2019-06-05 from 18:00 to 20:00