Mizuma Gallery is pleased to announce The Age of Disappearance, a two-person exhibition by Japanese artists, Satoru Aoyama and Ken Ikeda, an embroiderer and a musician respectively.
Traditions, bodies, disaster, war, documentary media - it goes without saying that this is an age in which each of those is itself confronted with many different disappearances, but within that, I think the notion of what the nature of “art” will be in the future is very important.
When talking about “The Age of Disappearance”, both Aoyama and Ikeda were eager to discuss the current social situation, with the fading existence of laborious, handmade creations standing against the brewing forces of advancement that come with our globalising world. This collaboration aims to take on the themes of documentation, disappearance, and regeneration.
Satoru Aoyama’s series, Map of the World (Dedicated to unknown embroiderers), evokes the now- classic “Mappa” embroidered world maps by Alighiero Boetti. Yet with a twist: the nations of the planet now appear only when fluorescent in the dark, underlining how the light of recognition for the work of the anonymous women craftworkers who made the original work is always merely intermittent.
As ever, Aoyama demonstrates a combination of exquisite technique and sharp conceptualism, in a profound work which raises questions about the fine line between authorship and unacknowledged labour, or between skilled craft and high art. In this, he treads an audacious path, linking the struggles of his own generation to pursue vernacular and technical work in a globalising art world. Alongside Aoyama's embroidery, the works of musician Ken Ikeda use the action of producing sound to suggest the theme of regeneration.
Presented through a primitive way of creation, Ikeda's work comes to life through elastic bands stretched taut across pieces of wood boards, resulting in the creation of instrumental drawings made with luminous paint. Ken Ikeda will perform a series of musical pieces alongside a live video performance by Satoru Aoyama on the opening night.
Satoru Aoyama graduated from Goldsmiths College in London in 1998, and completed a master’s program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2001. He has been using an old industrial sewing machine right from when he first started making art. For those who deal with industrial machinery – of all sorts, not just sewing machines – acquiring the proper techniques truly does mean becoming at one with the machine, the better to overcome the difficulties and dilemmas of the work. Andy Warhol once famously declared his wish to be a machine. The process of transforming machine into live, warm body encompasses a number of issues, the constantly transmuting – thanks to modernization – nature of what it means to be human, and the value of labor among them. These are issues he ponders to this very day, always with the history of fine art, and of industrial art, in mind. Some of Aoyama’s major exhibits include “ Map of the World (Dedicated to Unknown Embroiderers)”, Mizuma Art Gallery, Tokyo, 2015, “Story Teller, Units of Recognition", Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, Aomori, 2012, “Meguro Address”, Meguro Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2012, “Roppongi Crossing 2010: Is Art Possible?”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2010, and the upcoming Yokohama Triennale 2017. Satoru Aoyama currently lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.
Ken Ikeda is an artist, composer, and performer born in Tokyo in 1964. After studying at Berklee College of Music, he participated in various exhibitions such as “Desert of Desire, Spiral”, Tokyo, 1994, “David Lynch’s Dreams”, Parco Gallery, Tokyo, 1998, as a music composer, “Pictures”, SCAI, Tokyo, 1999, “SoncBoom: The Art of Sound”, Hayward Gallery, London, 2000, “Behind the Scenes”, SCAI, 2001, “Screen Memories”, Mito Art Center, Ibaraki, 2002, “Unspecialization”, SCAI, 2004, “Roppongi Crossing”, Mori Art Museum, 2004. He composed for the artworks and exhibitions by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Mariko Mori, Satoshi Aoyama, Tadanori Yokoo, David Lynch and others. He has performed with John Russel, Eddie Prevost, David Toop, Paul G. Smith and others in London with primitive acoustic sounds by his original instruments and pure sine waves by DX7. Ikeda released his first album “Tzuki” from Touch, UK, 2000. This followed with the releases of “Merge”, Touch, 2003, “The Mist of Rainbow”, Spekk, 2007, “Kosame”, Spekk, 2010, and his most recent full album in 2016, “Primal Scene” released from SAD. Ken Ikeda currently lives and works in London, UK.