August 22, 2017
Here I am on my final residency at Sawatari Gallery. I left Tokyo later than previous residency visits. I found myself to be very sleepy and tired as I made my way up to Nakanojo. As I pulled in front of Sawatari Gallery, I was nervous about seeing how many of the Drawing Cells toppled over. As it turns out, I found only four of the Drawing Cells on their side. The thing I noticed when I opened the door to the gallery was the intense humidity and musty odor emanating from the gallery. The three weeks of constant rain resulted in a strong build up of moisture in the gallery space.
I had planned for the first task to be inserting my Daily Drawings into the frames. Unfortunately, I noticed that the frames on one of the walls were covered in mold along the edges of the frames. I pulled down one of the frames and the back of the frame was covered in mold. It turns out all the frames on that one wall were covered in mold. That specific wall seems to be porous to moisture and susceptible to mold growth. It leaves me with about 16 frames left. I took a look at the other two walls and there was no mold on the front or the back of the frames. Still, with the proliferation of mold on the frames after three weeks, I am not quite sure I am ready to put the actual drawings at risk. I am going to think about what to do with the drawings over the next two days. If I decide to install them, it will be the last thing that I do before I leave.
The weather in Sawatari started off mild and cloudy, but soon the clouds darkened and the rest of the afternoon and evening was heavy rain followed with on and off rain until I came back to the place behind Miyata-ya. I think that I am tired and my motivation is a bit lacking. There was a part of me that wanted the final visit and exhibition polishing to go smoothly and in reality it is going to require two full days of work. I started off by fixing the Drawings Cells onto the floor with a small 1 cm x 1 cm double sided tape made for outdoor use on acrylic and glass surfaces. I wanted to find a double sided tape that could be used for both concrete and acrylic surfaces, but after a thorough search of Tokyu Hands, I was not able to find such a tape. I went with this clear double sided tape and as it turns out, it actually affixes to the concrete floor fairly well.
Work started in earnest around 3:30 pm and I worked until 6:15 pm with about half an hour of conversations with various people. I started off by placing a mini-level on top of a Drawing Cell to check its level. I figure the best way to minimise the possibility of the Drawing Cells falling over would be to make sure that the Drawing Cells are standing level. I mark the location of the Drawing Cell with the mini level and then dust off the surface of each Drawing Cell and wipe down the bottom of the acrylic disc base. I then affix a small square of double sided tape to the bottom and then place it back on the floor and make sure that the Drawing Cell is essentially level. When the pipe of a Drawing Cell is a bit off center on the Drawing Cell or on the acrylic base, I end up re-aligning everything so it is back on centre before putting it back on the floor.
By the end of the evening, I managed to finish fifty or so Drawing Cells and decided to come back to the room and get some rest and start early tomorrow. I hope to finish by early tomorrow afternoon. I was able to establish a routine by the end of the day, so I think that once I get going I should be able to move through the remaining Drawing Cells. I would like a good 24 hours to see if any of the Drawing Cells fall over.
I am reluctant to use the bond solvent unless absolutely necessary.
August 23, 2017
I ended up staying up past midnight to finish the second season of The Strain and then spent the rest of the night in an on again and off again night of sleep. I woke up and made a quick visit to the gallery before breakfast to drop some stuff off.
After breakfast and a shower, I headed up to the gallery and started on fixing the rest of the Drawing Cells. As it turned out, it took the entire morning and early afternoon to finish the Drawing Cells. There were a decent number of Drawing Cells that needed to be re-mounted and I think there were probably about 150 cells that needed to be cleaned and remounted onto the floor. After I took a break for lunch, I set about to start cleaning up the space.
The first step was to vacuum the space to remove spiderwebs, dust, and various insects. I started along the edges and corners of the space and then did a bit of vacuuming between the Drawing Cells. After that, I started to clean all the windows in the gallery. I was able to clean all the front and back glass doors and the inside of the side windows. The outside of the side windows are along a ledge, so I opted out of cleaning them. In the process of vacuuming, I discovered that three of the Drawing Cells were not mounted on the floor with double-sided tape. While I was mounting those three Drawing Cells, one of the taller Drawing Cells fell over. As a result, I decided that I would use the bonding solvent on the fallen Drawing Cell. I cleaned off all the Museum Gel residue and attached the Drawing Cell and acrylic base to the pipe.
After a short break, I came back to the gallery space and spent the last two hours of the day hanging out in the gallery looking over the Drawing Cells and seeing if any of them were on the verge of falling down. I saw one more Drawing Cell that looked like it was off centre and I grabbed it and used the bond solvent on that one. Two out of 250 isn’t too bad. I think using the mini-level on each of the Drawing Cells will help minimise any additional problems. I will see what happens when I go back there tomorrow morning. I started to clean up the space and organise the materials that I will bring back to Tokyo as well as equipment or materials to have the Nakanojo staff discard or store.
The amount of work for tomorrow is minimal. I have decided to go ahead and insert sixteen drawings into the frames that appear to be okay. I think that there will be moisture issues after the Nakanojo Biennale ends, but I think it will add to the installation and give viewers a sense of what the real drawings look like.
Here is the task list.
Insert drawings into frames.
Check to see if there are any additional off-centre Drawing Cells
Use bond solvent on any necessary Drawing Cells
Vacuum the gallery space one more time
Pack up unneeded supplies
Here is my emergency repair toolkit for my visits to Nakanojo
Outdoor double sided tape
August 24, 2017
I got up early to start insert the Daily Drawings into the frames. I was quite anxious to get all the drawings in their frames and on the wall. I managed to clean the frames and insert the drawings into the frames. To try and protect the drawings from humidity and growth of mold, I inserted two sheets of paper behind the drawing and then the backing board.
After that, I headed over to Miyata-ya for breakfast and a visit to the onsen. I came back to the gallery and did one more pass with the vacuum cleaner and moved all the extraneous supplies and furniture to one corner of the gallery and started to take pictures of the installation. Here are a handful.
The rest of the time was spent sitting and watching the Drawing Cells to see if any more of them would topple over. After three hours of sitting and watching, I met up with a former staff member of AIAV who was now working with the Nakanojo Biennale for lunch at Yoshinoya. Figuring that there was not much more I could do, we decided to pack up all the furniture and garbage and drop them off at Nakanojo Biennale office. As I opened the door to the gallery, I noticed that another of the Drawing Cells had toppled over. I was surprised because it was not one of the taller Drawing Cells. I took ten minutes or so to remove the museum gel and apply the bond solvent to the fallen Drawing Cell and put it back into place. At this point, three Drawing Cells had fallen over. If the last three weeks are any indication, I should only expect one more Drawing Cell to fall over between now and the opening – should I be so lucky.
I closed up the gallery and all that remained besides the installation was a 2 meter ladder which I borrowed early on in the residency. Once that gets removed, the work is ready for documentation for the catalog sometime between August 29 and September 8.
We drop off all the equipment and I receive my artist fee for completing my installation. There is also another piece of exciting news that I hope to share with you all soon, but not quite yet.
I head back to Tokyo – exhausted. It is hard to believe that the installation is complete, but I also know that there will be daily anxiety attacks about fallen Drawing Cells. With that in mind, I have already put together my emergency repair kit to be carried with me at all times during my visits to the Nakanojo Biennale.
I have made plans to be at the Nakanojo Biennale during every weekend of the festival. Stay tuned for actual dates I will there in a post coming up very soon!
Now time to focus on the Tokyo Art Book Fair and the “noise” Printmaking Project/Exhibitions….