Atsushi Saga “Perception”

SCAI The Bathhouse

poster for Atsushi Saga “Perception”
[Image: "inside/002" 2016, MDF, Urethane coat, 33.3 x 33.3 x 5 cm. Photo by Taku Saiki

This event has ended.

For the past decade, artist Atsushi Saga has been mastering his technique of manually polishing the painted surface to attain a mirror-like effect, exploring the limit of what is possible by hand. His seemingly minimalistic configurations are made through painstaking and enduring repetition of engagement; however, unlike industrially finished material, the surface is never perfectly consistent and displays minute differences in its material depth and color. The exhibition at SCAI The Bathhouse, titled “Perception”, signals the viewer to detect these fine differences confined within this particular medium plane.
Saga eliminated shape and color from his canvases early in his career and reduced his practice to the utmost simplistic materials and methods. In so doing, he also referenced Japanese traditional art forms such as Noh, a musical drama in which performers express emotions through slow and minimal gesture. In this exhibition, Saga refers to Kodo, Japanese art of appreciating incense practiced as a game with a set of prescribed rules and manners. His new series “inside” (2015-) are blue painted wood boards coated with Urethane, on which five vertical stripes subtly appear under the transparent layer. The five stripes are borrowed from the patterns used for the Genji-ko (Genji incense), in which participants appreciate five selections of aroma, and identify two as the same. On the five-stripe diagram, they then draw a horizontal line connecting two of the stripes laid in order. Saga suggests testing the scents, but subtlety describes it visually instead, and follows the grammar of Genji-ko, which dates from the Edo period.
Within Western art history, the stripes evoke the work of Daniel Buren, who formed an artist collective BMPT in the last 1960s, Paris. For Buren, the stripes are imitable and easily duplicated as aesthetic archetypes and critical tools addressing questions of how we look, perceive, and appropriate. Saga imbues his painting with almost unrecognizable vague stripes pattern, through which the viewer negotiates his/her own reflections about seeing and not seeing, perceiving and sensing. There also is the intention of the artist who invite the viewer to join the game of Genji-ko presented on polished surface to shining like a mirror.



from July 08, 2016 to August 06, 2016


Atsushi Saga



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