Tuesday, 24 January 2012

‘Forest from Forest’ by T Kuribayashi (栗林隆)

Review of the artist’s work (original title: Wald aus Wald) from the exhibition ‘Vision of Nature: Lost & Found in Asian Contemporary Art’

Narrow doorway before entering ‘into’ the work.

Undercurrent, cloud or cavernous dugout before 
the unravelling of forest.

Lone viewer in observation mode.

 White forest risen from the claustrophobic space below.

‘In-between’ realm separating the polarized worlds.

Unlike other venues in the past, the installation held in Hong Kong spills over from one floor to another.  The walk through the exhibit is a unique addition to the experience.

The nondescript layout of the Pao Galleries with two stories of exhibition spaces connected by a walkway facilitates a dynamic shell for installation by the young Japanese artist – Takashi Kuribayashi (栗林隆).

With trepidation, one only catches a glimpse of the rugged low lying paper pulp before entering the ethereal space.  Step by step and with head lowered, one is gradually nestled in this papier-mâché otherworldliness, the visual and physical impacts of which are attributive to what installation art excels as a contemporary medium.

Besides material stimulus, the visual gives rise to more profound contemplation.  Kuribayashi provides some food for thought: “I have spent a considerable amount of time developing rapport with nature.  This can be seen through my artworks, as well as through diving and surfing.  In order to preclude human from having the wrong perception of their positions, nature teaches us how meagre we are and how we should position ourselves in the world.”  The artist’s statement is also a reminder of the neglect of damages we inflict upon this planet every day.

What sets this work apart from other mundane leitmotifs (in the same venue) on the theme of Nature is the poetry and sublimity the artist manages to produce.  There are a number of dichotomic forces in operation.  On the corporeal domain: undergrowth and forest, figurative and cosmic, darkness and light, ephemeral and universal.  On the emotive domain: reality and hyperreality, static and active, apprehension and exhilaration.  For an individual viewer, each condition interacts with another whilst some transfuse among themselves to generate multiple axioms of thoughts.

This complex codification of messages borne out of the fragile material of paper, itself a metaphysical attribute of tree lives in reverse making as hinted from the title of work, is admittedly beauty to the eye.  However, through the encounter with subterranean caverns and wintry forest, one might develop a primeval sense of insecurity as if in the great wilderness; and not before long, an awe of nature might sink in.

I was almost alone in the exhibition.  Solitude led to meditation on Nature.  My experience of the installation might be summed up in words by Rilke:

“In the long run, one is not as forlorn when one is alone with a corpse as when one is alone with trees.  There is something even more mysterious about a life that is not our life, that has nothing to do with us, and which so to speak celebrates its rite without seeing us, who watch like guests who speak a different language.”

For those without first person experience, impressions of “Forest from Forest” can otherwise be best attained from video clips including the following:

‘Vision of Nature: Lost & Found in Asian Contemporary Art’ is held in the Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre from 10 Dec 2011 to 29 Jan, 2012.

(There is no review on all other artists' works in this joint exhibition.)

Forest from Forest- 栗林隆的裝置藝術 〈中文摘要〉








Forest from Forest》屬《重新審視自然:亞洲當代藝術中的自然》聯展一部份,由二O一一年十二月十日至二O一二年一月二十九日于香港藝術中心包氏畫廊展出。


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