I woke up this morning with the plan to print out all the layouts for the four artist books. I packed up my things and headed to the studio to drop off my laptop and transfer files to my hard drive. I also looked over the form for the Young Artists Book Fair and put together all the information that was required and sent that off. The only thing left to do before Christmas is to pick a five hour shift to be present at Kinokuniya during the course of the exhibition. Before heading down to the Art Director Room, I got a message from Morishita-san about going to the Hagi Uragami Museum in the afternoon. After a long day and night in the studio on Monday, I decided that venturing out would do me some good and happily said yes. With a couple hours before going out, I headed to the Art Director Room to print out the layouts. Handfeeding each sheet is a rather tedious process and I decided to make a sound recording of what I listened to for almost two hours. On the positive side, I experienced no problems with printing my images on various thicknesses of tracing paper. I can only wish that my printer at home would do the same thing. By all appearances, all the layouts looked good except for one images from the “Interstices and Bicycles” book that I improperly sized. Everything else looked good. I was particularly pleased with the “The Longest Road From Work” and “The Long Road To The Supermarket”. I think the sequentially increasing/decreasing size of the images works quite effectively in a book format. Satisfied with the morning process, I headed back to my room to drop off my stuff and wait for Morishita-san. We headed off from AIAV to Hagi which I thought I had never been to. She was describing the upcoming NHK drama involving the daughter of . The name did not ring a bell but as we passed a small service area and museum entering Hagi, I suddenly remembered that I had been here with Yuka Otani when I came to visit AIAV in March. I thought we headed back after visiting the museum, but the further we drove on, the more I remembered about my visit in March. It turns out Yuka and I went to visit a craftsman in Hagi that she was interested in. Afterwards we headed to a market in Hagi, I think. It was interesting to experience the memories coming back to me as we drove along. Definitely food for thought as I think about memory in my studio practice.
Back to the actual trip today, we stopped off at San Marco for a quick lunch before heading to the museum. At the Christmas party last week at Frank Café, the Suzuki Osamu exhibition at Hagi Uragami was raved about. I had gotten a flyer for the exhibition when I arrived, but I did not think much of it, but the raves piqued my curiosity. As it turns out, it was quite an amazing, interesting and thought provoking exhibition. I am not going to do justice to describing his exhibition, but I will share impressions. Here is a link to a review from the Japan Times from an earlier iteration of the exhibition. Some of his early works were he stamped numbers and kana characters onto ceramic forms struck me as quite contemporary. It was very interesting to see the progression of his work as he worked from these forms and functional forms into more abstract, yet figurative forms. He would create what he called “clay images” derived from nature, primarily living creatures, and capture what he saw as the essence of those forms. Some of the forms are easily recognizable from a distance, while other forms were difficult to discern until looking at the title. As I wandered through the exhibition, it became a puzzle of sorts. I would view the pieces from a distance trying to figure out what form was before looking at the title. The pieces themselves were absolutely beautiful. I admit to minimal knowledge about ceramics, but Osamu’s work resonated with me. It was fascinating for me because by looking at his work, you had a connection to your own perception of nature, but more importantly, you got a clear sense of Osamu’s process and how he perceived nature. It was like looking into the mind and understanding what he saw. It is something I have been striving for in my studio practice and yet am still so far from that. Here is an image of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, although it does do his work justice. The exhibition had two sets of these pieces and based on the dates of the pieces, 1971 – 1994, it appears that he created one piece each year. Unfortunately, it turns out that this is the final stop of the exhibition.
After a comprehensive look at his exhibition, we saw a small exhibition by Aiko Miyanaga whose work looked very familiar. As it turns out, I had also seen her work at the Aichi Triennale 2010, like Misawa Atsuhiko.
Next, it was off to the new wing of the Hagi Uragami Museum which housed the fantastical and ominous work of Miwa Kyusetsu XII and and more traditional ceramics by Miwa Jusetsu XI. It was an interesting contrast in styles as you can see from the samples of images from both, top and bottom, respectively..
I picked up the Suzuki Osamu exhibition catalog as well as some postcards before we headed out. We walked from the museum into town to check out a small shop in the shotengai. En route to the shop, I took some pictures of Hagi Interstices which were relatively sparse.
We arrive at Tazz and were warmly created by Tamura-san. He invited us to visit the exhibition space in back filled with beautiful ceramic works that were sanded down to give a matte finish. There were many beautiful and affordable objects, but I settled on a beautiful coffee cup for Harumi as well a bunch of postcards made by Tamura-san.
We headed back to the car and made plans to visit Akiyoshidai and the Karst Plateau. Before then, Morishita-san was kind enough to make a stop at the supermarket so I could pick up a few things (mostly snacks) to tide me over for the rest of my stay at AIAV. And we were off the Akiyoshidai. I had an impression of the Akiyoshidai Plateau as being an elevated, but wide flat space. As it turns out, I was completely wrong. It is an enormous space with rolling hills and beautiful views. We pulled off at a viewing spot and I took some pictures.
I mentioned to her that I was interested in the open space that a couple artists had used in their work for the 2014 Trans Artist Residencies and as it turns out we were driving past so she was kind enough to stop and let me explore the space for a bit. We had arrived close to sunset so there were some fantastic views and colors to be had.
As it turns out, there are walking paths for people to traverse the area, but entering into the plateau outside of the paths seemed forbidden. This was disappointing but understandable. I have to rethink the idea of using the Akiyoshidai Plateau as a space perform my Memory Walks. I may return to the studio or use the AIAV courtyard. We headed back to AIAV where Nakano-san and Oota-san had come by my studio for a visit and were chatting with Fujisawa-san when we arrived back. I talked with them about the works that I have been making and showed off the multiple exposure feature on my RICOH camera. Nakano-san, and Oota-san made plans with me to have lunch in “Taiwan Village” on Friday. It seems that it is a small cluster of Taiwanese immigrants in this area. Exactly where, I am not sure, but I will let you know on Friday.
I came back to my room and made myself a hearty serving of pasta before going back to the studio to draw the last three days of Memory Walks. I started first by looking over the printouts I made in the morning and then cutting and folding them down to form. I made corrections on the one image from “Interstices and Bicycles” and will print that tomorrow morning. The two commuting artist book layouts were perfect as was the “Interstices and Bicycles” book sans the one image. I need to print the cover and explanation page for the “Interstices and Bicycles” book tomorrow. As it turns out the “Interstices and Vending Machine” accordion book pages looked good unfolded, but upon folding the first page to assemble a mock up, I realized that the pages were not properly printed out because the margins were not even. Unfortunately, I am out of 105 g/m2 tracing paper, but I will reprint the pages out on thinner stock and fold them to figure out the proper printer settings for my printer. I finished drawing the walks for the last three days and decided to come back to my room to write this and go to bed early.
It is not so early anymore – 11:30 pm. The days and nights at AIAV have been quite busy and the time seems to go way to fast. Tomorrow, I will spend the day in and around the studio until the evening when there will be a Christmas Eve nabe party in Mito.