Mungo Thomson “Archives”

Maki Gallery

poster for Mungo Thomson “Archives”
[Image: Mungo Thomson, November 24, 1980 (Saturn), 2020, Enamel on low-iron mirror, poplar and aluminium, 188.0 x 142.0 x 6.0 cm]

This event has ended.

In 2019, the artist held his first solo exhibition in Japan, “Rods and Cones.” The focus of this very well-received exhibition was his series of works of the same title. The series takes junk mail advertisements as its motif, particularly those that focus on sight and vision improvement, enlarging them to about 1,000 times their original size. The works in the series reveal how such advertising images are printed: they are in fact composed of overlapping dots of CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) that are assembled into a coherent image by the rods and cones (photoreceptor cells) in our retina. The viewer may feel a sense of frustration that the coherent image does or doesnʼt form, depending on the point or distance from which they view the work. This reversal of perceptions is precisely the concept that lies at the foundation of Thomsonʼs creative practice.

This yearʼs exhibition invites us to consider the concept of time. A key to understanding this concept lies in the Time Mirror, which also garnered a great deal of attention last year. It is common sense that we cannot see or touch time. However, as the artist explains, “time happens in the mirror, looking into it every day, seeing time happen in your face.” The changes in ourselves that time brings to us tell us that this is the very thing which makes time visible.

“Turning to the Stress Archive” series, which will be shown in Japan for the first time as part of this exhibition, the motif is stress toys – common office items meant to relieve stress by being squeezed. Acrylic resin is poured around these cheap toys, so representative of todayʼs stress-filled society, so that they are crushed and preserved in that state. They are put under pressure as if they had been buried for a long time and then arranged in rows like an encyclopedia. The artist thus “archives” these stress toys as a tabletop city, an archaeological assembly of cultural material under pressure.



from June 12, 2020 to July 18, 2020


Mungo Thomson



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