Japan Journal

 

Combining Pop-Povera structure with forms echoing Edo Period signage, these displays of private journal writings are decidedly restrictive in their generousity. Through the filter of translation, the calligraphic stylization, and the mystery of identity; a series of layers and speed-bumps guarantee misinterpretation and enable an exhibit of the personal. Often the calligraphic translations are either hidden behind folds in the white denim, and more often than not the actual source text when translated only makes sense to myself. The work is not partnered with the exhausted genre of "getting it" convenience. Titles at least hint at meaning— "...abdominal muscles." contains a 6-pack of Pabst Blue-Ribbon hidden Castellani-esque within its pillowcase-like structure. The full journal entry, "Throwing up is much easier when you have abdominal muscles." refers to one of my many Osaka Sunday morning post Explosion Club hang-overs. A bass-akwards reversal on "Japlish" bad English slogans is served with many P.o.t.A. entries.

— Exhibition statement, 1999

"...abdominal muscles." 1998
"...abdominal muscles." 1998

Ink on white denim, contains one six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon 40" x 40" x 6 inches Translation: "Throwing up is much easier when you have abdominal muscles."

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"...abdominal muscles." (detail)
"...abdominal muscles." (detail)

Ink on white denim, contains one six-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon 40" x 40" x 6 inches Translation: "Throwing up is much easier when you have abdominal muscles."

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"Every dog..." 1998
"Every dog..." 1998

Ink on white denim, red lacquered wooden posts 52" x 48" x 29 inches (approx) Translation: "Every dog has naked heat." (from a Japlish sweatshirt by the brand Labrador Retriever)

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"Why are there no female..." 1998
"Why are there no female..." 1998

Ink on white denim, red lacquered wooden posts, lacquered bricks 47" x 48" x 36 inches (approx) translation: "Why are there no female gorillas on The Planet Of The Apes ?"

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"The human race..." 1998
"The human race..." 1998

Ink on white denim, lacquered rock bound with rope Approx 62" x 40" x 55 inches

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"Tanaka-san" 1998
"Tanaka-san" 1998

Ink on white denim, lacquered rocks bound with bamboo, red lacquered wooden post 56" x 48" x 28 inches (approx) Translation: "Tanaka-san, implementation specialist" (a friend's business card)

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"...time." 1998
"...time." 1998

Ink on white denim, containing round wooden disc 42" x 42 inches (approx) Translation: "Time is a circle" (from P.o.t.A.)

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"One day..." 1998
"One day..." 1998

Ink on white denim, containing one lacquered rock 28" x 24" x 19 inches (approx) Translation: "One day a huge ball of wax fell out of my ear."

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"The earthquake..." 1998
"The earthquake..." 1998

Ink on white denim, grommets 56" x 12" x 4 inches (approx)

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"My jade..." 1998
"My jade..." 1998

Ink on white denim, grommets 56" x 12" x 4 inches (approx)

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"How many..." 1998
"How many..." 1998

Ink on white denim, red lacquered wooden post 42" x 37 inches (approx) Translation: "How many futures do we have ?" (from P.o.t.A.")

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"In the year..." 1998
"In the year..." 1998

Ink on white denim, rolled onto red lacquered wooden post 42" x 44 inches (approx)

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"Sleep four hours..." 1998
"Sleep four hours..." 1998

Installation of the "study flag" at The Japan Foundation Toronto library, 1999 Ink on white denim, red lacquered wooden post 56" x 28 inches (approx) Translation: "Sleep four hours and pass, sleep five hour fail."

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"Sleep four hours..." 1998
"Sleep four hours..." 1998

The "study flag" unfurled. Ink on white denim, red lacquered wooden post 56" x 28 inches (approx) Translation: "Sleep four hours and pass, sleep five hours fail."

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Kyoto
Kyoto

Example showing signage curtain

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Tokyo
Tokyo

Example showing Edo-style signage curtain

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Frieze review
Frieze review

Review by Ingrid Chu of "Private Language" at The Japan Foundation Toronto. Frieze Magazine, Issue 46, May 1999, pg 93/94

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"Diary rags" 1998
"Diary rags" 1998

"Diary rags" installation at The Japan Foundation Toronto. Entries from journal kept while in Japan. Series of one dozen. Sumi ink on cotton Each approx 15" length

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"Diary rags" 1998
"Diary rags" 1998

"Diary rags" installation at The Japan Foundation Toronto. Entries from journal kept while in Japan. Series of one dozen. Sumi ink on cotton Each approx 15" length

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"While asleep in Tokyo..." 1998
"While asleep in Tokyo..." 1998

Diary rag with entry from journal kept while in Japan. Sumi ink on cotton Each approx 15" length Translation: "While asleep in Tokyo, I went to a wild party in Osaka."

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"I watched the silver fish..." 1998
"I watched the silver fish..." 1998

Diary rag with entry from journal kept while in Japan. Sumi ink on cotton Each approx 15" length Translation: "I watched the silver fish fly and eat out of the mouths of birds."

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