Rachel Rosalen’s Translocal Urbanities at Yokohama Museum of Art

When I met Rachel Rosalen, an artist from Brazil temporarily working and living in Tokyo, it was natural that we chose to talk while walking around Tokyo’s Ginza, given her her self-proclaimed nostalgia for cities.

poster for Rachel Rosalen

Rachel Rosalen

at Yokohama Museum Of Art
in the Yokohama, Kanagawa area
This event has ended - (2005-10-01 - 2005-10-30)

In Reviews by Aneta Glinkowska 2005-10-16

Urbanism is one of the major themes in her work and some the themes that prevalent throughout her show currently on display at Yokohama Museum of Art, surfaced in our conversation as we walked down the busy avenues.

One of Rachel’s inspirations for the show is the “Pillow Book”, especially the Peter Greenaway interpretation and adaptation of it. This particular inspiration is especially reflected in Nihon Nikki, her journal on two video projections which contain what appears to be a ritual performed by the artist herself and a Japanese man silently instructing her in the handling of the Japanese sword. It’s a journal not unlike the body journal in the Greenaway film. The whole show is about the artist’s relationship to Japan, but only in Nihon Nikki is she physically involved in the deconstruction of that relationship. Her relationship with Japanese culture is, as she calls it, a game which is necessarily improvised, often silent and sometimes physical and violent. The silence comes from the silence in her relationships with people in Japan. The violence of the sudden outbursts between the silent intervals is based in the unexpected pitfalls encountered while learning about the handling of the sword.

Another of the three installations, Yokubo Sutras explores themes of solitude and love in the translocal reality that is the artist’s presence in Japan. This installation is an interactive one, involving sitting on a tatami mat by a table with a bowl filled with sand and handling a spoon with a hole in it, letting the sand slip through the hole. Raising it activates sensors which in turn activate grating sounds in images that are projected on the screen in front of the spectator. But “this interactivity is anti-interactive.” The more one works to lift the sand, the less effect it has. That is perhaps another expression of some counter-productivity of the artist’s efforts to understand and relate to the Japanese culture.

Going through the darkened rooms of the exhibit, it is hard not to notice the precision of the set up in which the viewer is made to see the projections for the viewing on the tatami. This placement has an immediate connection with Rachel’s interest in Japanese culture but also has roots in her interest in architecture.

Aneta Glinkowska

Aneta Glinkowska. Born in Poland. She has lived in New York since 1996, where she attended college and graduate school. To escape the routine of science labs in college, she went to the movies daily. Following an MA in Cinema Studies, she roams Tokyo as a writer, visiting art galleries daily and blogging about art events. She's looking for opportunities to write about art and cinema for all types of publications. Contact via email: aneta [at] tokyoartbeat [dot ]com. » See other writings

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