Saturday, August 6, 2011

exhibition: triennale

The fourth edition of Yokohama Triennale, titled OUR MAGIC HOUR - How Much of the World Can We know? focuses on art that makes use of motives related to mysteries of the world, everyday life and magical powers as we read in the guidebook introduction.

How much magic is in this exhibition?

At the Yokohama Museum of Art, which is for the first time the primary triennale venue, visitors are greeted by the rainbow sculpture entitled our magic hour, which also serves as the exhibition title and by the group of sculpture monsters guarding the entrance (both by Ugo Rondinone).

photo: William Andrews

Inside, the first artwork beyond the museum lobby is Aurélien Froment video Théâtre de Poche in which magician conjures images into the air telling a cyclical tale. To either side of this gallery are minimal installations by James Lee Byars, Wilfredo Prieto and Motohiro Tomii. The two latter play with our notion of value arranging simple materials such as pins or zirconia so that they evoke viewers' astonishment. Following the route attentive viewer will spot easy-to-overlook work Still White, Corridor by Atsushi Saga, who polished the gallery wall to a subtle sheen.

Wilfredo Prieto, One, 2008

photo: Monika Rendzner

James Lee Byars, The Diamond Floor, 1995

photo: William Andrews

In other rooms contemporary art is integrated with works from museum's collection coming from different ages from ukiyo-e prints to Coptic textiles and mid-twentieth-century Surrealist paintings. The one which keeps me for longer is the Massimo Bartolini installation Organi, in which a scaffolding has been transformed into musical pipes with a small music box placed on the floor. Along with the Damien Hirst stain-glass shape multicoloured collages made of dried butterflies wings this high-ceiling room make me feel like in a chapel.

photo: Monika Rendzner

The other venue is three-level BankART Studio NYK which has different dynamics and which hosts mostly site-specific installations. Here the artistic director, Akiko Miki, seems to walk away from the theme of wonderment prevailing in the main venue. This exhibition is partly playful with Rivane Neuenschwander interactive installations that resembling the playground on the second floor and partly meditative. I am glued to Susan Norrie video Transit in which she juxtaposes the owe of nature and the technological development that is used to control it. Christian Marclay video The Clock which won Golden Lion in Venice this year is one of the last work in the exhibition and one where most flock.

Rivane Neuenschwander, Prosopopaea, 2010/Izumi Taro, Fishbone as slang, 2010

photo: Monika Rendzner

Whether the decision to include a greater number of local artists was intentional or resulted from shrunken budget it was good to see works by Yagi Lyota, Taro Izumi, Imamura Ryosuke, Yokoo Tadanori, Takahiro Iwasaki, Noguchi Rika and the Koichi Yumoto Collection of Japanese ghosts and monsters amongst others.

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