Soshi Matsunobe “Ghost of Copy”
[Image: © Soshi Matsunobe "Ghost of Copy (Gray) #21" (2021) Photograph.]
This event has ended.
The exhibition presents some eighty photographic images, from the artist’s ongoing series Ghost of Copy, in an installation that makes use of the dark and intimate environment of the exhibition space. The series captures a range of objects and patterns from the artist’s everyday life—his workplace in the agricultural surroundings of Shiga prefecture, his studio, nature, ceramic workshop, and random objects around him.
Soshi Matsunobe is in a perpetual search for means to capture the intangible. He chases shadows, explores holes, investigates gaps, and draws grounds (or rather backgrounds) while using conceptual art theories and minimalist models. Over the last decade he created work in sculpture, installation, drawing, and photography with a clear interest in the physicality of spaces, or lack thereof, and the rarely discussed beauty of the most mundane everyday objects—from boxes and rubber bands to stones.
Beyond his obsession with lines, the meeting forged between dots, and theories of abstractions, the essence of his work lays in the voids that silently fill existence: the sublimity of emptiness, the elegance of blanks, and the relentless efforts to conquer states in flux. The allure of his work inhabits in boundlessness and in the belief that art can be transformative and not constrained by rigidity and self-containment. The beauty of the work, like the processes that created them, derives from their elusiveness. They communicate instants of tranquillity, moments of contemplation, and pundit challenges.
There is a sense of infinity in much of his work. Like the shadows he never seems to catch or the light that is almost there, but keeps on moving. You find it in the never-ending hand-drawn repeated patterns that permeate his wallpapers and billboards— maybe geometric and maybe organic, kind of figurative but certainly abstract— creating a sequence that is limitless, black and white (but definitely gray, at least from a distance) and typified by their similarity to the random dot pixel pattern of static noise on analog CRT televisions, but also are so elegant and simple upon closer inspection. Same in his inexhaustible photographs of natural crepe rubber bands (2012 and 2018) against a black background, floating in a void, showcasing “acrobatics” after a quick twist in the artist’s palm. The innate and mundane rubber band commands a life and character (there, I said it) in a most surprising manner. It is clean and simple, but knotted and complex, like life itself.
At The Container Matsunobe is presenting new and older images from his ongoing series Ghost of Copy, in a site-specific installation that makes use of the dark and intimate environment of the exhibition space. The series captures in photography a range of objects and patterns from the artist’s everyday life—his workplace in the agricultural surroundings of Shiga prefecture, his studio, nature, ceramic workshop, and random objects around him. The photographs are manipulated to emphasize, in the artist’s words, “reflection, reversal, and repetition.” The strength of the images, as in Matsunobe’s other projects, is the lack of a hierarchy of motifs and the absence of negative and positive spaces. As in the rest of his practice, his ability to avoid definition and to capture the “in between” creates images on the cusp of abstraction where positives and negatives coexist peacefully and underscore the traces instead of the objects themselves.
The images are characterized by prioritizing a grayscale and fabricating similitude deprived of dead spaces. It’s the juncture of the real and virtual, the weightless and massive, the figurative and abstract, the natural and manmade. Most fascinating is the mimesis between the geometric and abstract and the manmade and natural. In both instances, the borders between the diametrical assumptions are bridged by aesthetic tools, just like Matsunobe manages to consolidate the gaps between blacks and whites. The agricultural images, for example, although recall organic forms, are essentially reflections of mass production, and outline the mechanization of farm work. Such are the images Matsunobe takes of plants, with a node to geometry and patterns of tessellation, common both in natural forms and in math, and an ode to the depictions of the German photographer Karl Blossfeldt who highlighted the relation between natural forms and geometry in late 19th century and early 20th century.
The installation sees some eighty images from Matsunobe’s Ghost of Copy projected onto the back wall of The Container, using a low-tech carousel slide projector. The images seem to sum up Matsunobe’s entire practice, accenting many of the conceptual and aesthetic notions he has been contemplating for over a decade. Withal, the repetitive mechanism of the slide projection helps to contextualize the work and setting in a form akin to a virtual sketchbook that leads the viewers through a transcendent narrative that is as beautiful as philosophical, and as cerebral as physiological.
from July 26, 2021 to October 11, 2021