My 5th residency at Sawatari Gallery

This post is an edited version of the notes which I put together during my 5th residency at Sawatari Gallery this past weekend.

Here I am sitting in my room behind Miyata Ryokan for my first non residence stay after my first day of my residency.  I started watching Stranger Things and am trying to do some writing in here. I discovered the possibility of Wi-Fi, but I am not holding out hope.

I came into this past week hoping to write about my last residency here in Sawatari, but preparations and being at the Endless Dialogue exhibition prevented me from having sufficient energy and time to really deal with writing about it.

I have a draft of notes from my fourth residency, but let’s start with this fifth residency and try and work backwards.  I spent the week making two plans for this fifth residency.

In the situation where I would not receive my order of acrylic pipes in time for this visit, I was going to start laying out the acrylic discs into clusters and take it kind of easy.  In the event that the acrylic pipes were delivered in time, then I would start the work of attaching the pipes to each of the acrylic discs. As it turns out Hazaiya came through and the pipes were delivered last night. The order was quite large and I brought along my largest load of luggage with me. Outside of A5 frames, I have brought along all the stuff that I need to complete the project.

The original plan for the attachment of the acrylic pipes to the Drawing Cells and then to the floor was to use the white tack. And then on Tuesday night while I was at hasu no hana, I was talking with Fukuma-san and Miura-san about my plan for attaching the acrylic pipes and Drawing Cells.

As it turns out, there was a lot of concern about the stability of the Drawing Cells mounted to the floor and the immediate suggestion was to look at using Museum Gel instead of the white tack to offer more stability. I also have to consider that there will be children running around the installation, which adds an additional factor when I am considering the layout of the Drawing Cells. On Wednesday night, I headed over to Tokyu Hands to find and pick up the Museum Gel. I grabbed two containers worth for about 5000 yen.

The remainder of the 11 cm diameter discs also arrived on Wednesday evening.

This being my fifth time headed up to Nakanojo, I have come to accept that I spend my Thursday evenings getting ready for my four day residencies. The 211 acrylic pipes arrived on Thursday night and I was happy to see that the acrylic pipes did not need to be sanded down after the cuts.  I spent the evening figuring out how to put everything together and make it manageable to bring up to Nakanojo.

I headed up to Nakanojo on the usual train and was thinking about doing some drawings, but I was dead tired and slept for most of the way to Takasaki.  Afraid that I was going to fall asleep and miss my stop at Nakanojo, I decided to make myself stay awake by listening to more NoSleep podcasts.

I arrived at the station and picked up some liquids at Family Mart before heading over to Sawatari Gallery. I promptly dropped off all the acrylic pipes in the gallery and then went over to Miyata to get the keys for the building behind the ryokan. I stumbled my way down the hill and had flashbacks to my residency at Hambidge being in the middle of nature.

Before setting to work, I took a look at the sample Drawing Cells that I set up my last visit with the white tack. They seemed to be holding up well except that the white tack seemed to have dried out over the two weeks. The attachment of the pipe to the floor was not as good as the disc to the pipe, so I tried the Museum Gel to attach the pipe to the floor. Unfortunately, the connection was not better than the white tack. I decided that this would be a problem to deal with later. I figure that I wanted to get the pipes attached the Drawing Cells first and see how they stand with the 3 cm wide pipes.

I spent the afternoon attaching the Drawing Cells to the acrylic pipes using the Museum Gel which worked quite well once I got the hang of it. I managed to get through almost half of the Drawing Cells. I also noticed that the shorter pipes did not have a problem standing fairly firmly, but the 15 cm ones were starting to get a bit shaky especially if the floor was slanted.

I wrapped up work in the studio around 7 pm and headed back to my residence. I spent the evening trying to get acclimated to the new space and do some desk work on here. I managed a few lines that you see above, but other than that I spent the rest of the night laying on the futon and drifting in and out of sleep.

I woke up on Saturday, went to the onsen, had breakfast and then headed to the gallery and finished up attaching all the pipes to the Drawing cells.

It turns out, I am missing 8 pipes, 10, 15, 17, and 5 x 22 cm pipes. Working with the longer pipes, I realised that they are not going to be very stable even if they were to be attached to the ground rather securely. As a result, I decided that I will need to make an order of 249 acrylic discs, each 1 mm thick, I am still debating the diameter of the bottom disc. I think it will be somewhere between 5 and 6 cm.  It is an unexpected expenditure to complete the project.  On the plus side, I can start to see these individual drawing cells being sold as individual pieces that are ready made for delivery.

After setting them all up, I took some photographs and then headed for lunch at Yoshinoya which is basically my source of food for lunch and dinner.  It is very taste handmade soba served in a number of variations.

After lunch, I decided to start laying out the blue sheets through the entire gallery space, but that required moving all the drawing cells to another sheet. As a result, I started organising the Drawing Cells by colour on one of the prepared blue sheets. It was much hotter and more humid than any day since I started coming to Nakanojo and did my best to keep hydrated.

After moving a few more Drawing Cells around, I decided to clean up two of the walls in the gallery in preparation for the final installation. I took down all the drawing cells on the far wall which I did not need from 2016. I also took down the white sheet that was just hanging in the far back wall. I also took to cleaning up my supplies and throwing things out as needed.

Tomorrow should be a pretty relaxed day compared to Friday and today. I do not have too much to do. I am hoping to lay down the last of the blue sheet where the desk is to complete the three by three layout of the blue sheets. I have left a border along the long wall so that people can walk along the walls to see the actual drawings.

Day 3

I woke up this morning to a relatively full night of sleep. The usual routine, pop out of bed, put in contacts, go to the onsen, and have breakfast which you can see a representative photograph below.

I decided to take it easy this morning and watched another episode of Stranger Things this morning before heading to the gallery. I spent the morning putting together a more compact and organised layout as I imagine the space to look. I am pretty happy with how the final form has turned out.

I think that there should be plenty of room to maneuver around the periphery as well as through the gallery space.  You can see a close up from above of one of the clusters.

I spent the rest of the day wandering around the space and making some decisions.  I am going to make an order of 6 cm diameter acrylic discs, each 2 mm thick and get the remaining 8 pipes that I need.

Day 4

I ended up coming back to Tokyo in the early afternoon as I wanted to make sure that I could place the order for my acrylic discs and pipes as soon as possible.

There are additional tasks at hand, but for now, I think the progress on the installation is following the timeline that I expected.  I think that I will need one more four day residency and then two short stays at Sawatari Gallery to finish the installation, hopefully by the middle of August.  I will do my best to recap my 4th residency sometime over the next two weeks.

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