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19/19

From February 15TH to May 11th 2019 - 26BY Bruxelles

VOICES AND SOUND WAVES : THE JAPANESE SCENE

With Yukio Fujimoto, Mamoru, Lyota Yagi, Atsushi Nishijima, Softpad (Takuya Minami, Hajime Takeuchi, Ichiro Awazu, Hiroshi Toyama)
Curator : Anne-Laure Chamboissier

This exhibition Voice and Sound Waves: The Japanese Scene presents the works of three generations of artists. These artists share a real knowledge of sound and music that inspires different artistic practices: sculpture, installation, video, graphics, performance. They question a fundamental practice: the experience of listening.

For the artist Yukio Fujimoto (1950), the position and movements of the viewer (or listener) in relation to the art piece he presents are essential to the experience and understanding of the work. He encourages us to take an active approach with our ears, and this applies to our experience of sound and visual phenomena as well. Although some of his works do not have an auditory component, the presence of sound is present, sometimes as a trace or a clue, this is the case with the work Delete (Beatles). The artist presents on the wall the collection of each of the Beatles’ albums and their labels, but with their grooves erased. With the piece Passage (silent/listen), depending on the viewer’s movement, one of the words appears or not. For the artist, silence is an integral part of this act of listening. Through found objects such as clock mechanisms, music boxes or other systems, with Clocks, or Broom (Glass) and Revolution & Gravity (A Flower & A Glass ball), the artist creates real listening devices and tools. He explores what are called "little sounds" and fuses elegantly the experience of music with that of everyday sounds.

For Atsushi Nishijima (1965), sound can only exist in the relationship that is created between things and whose listening would be the interpretation of these relationships. Listening becomes in itself a creative act, as is the case with the piece Sky Fishing, of which we have a trace through the video and the technical device exposed by the artist. An important influence for the artist is John Cage with his "chance operations", as well as the Fluxus movement. The works Ito Mono Strike, Turner Curtain_Brussels version, Solid Scanning 2 and 5.16.14.16.16.7.7.12.8.15.15.14.15.9.16 reflect this. These works are made from notices in the form of modus operandi, a random process. Sympathetic Wiretap_Brussels version is composed of different elements (strings, cans, magnetic transmitters acting as speakers, stones) and forms "a landscape", as the artist likes to conceive by this analogy these installations. The sounds chosen (Rapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein) are randomly broad-casted, modified and amplified at the contact of strings and drums. A delicate sound blanket invades the space and resonates with the sounds of other works.

The Softpad collective is made up of artists from different backgrounds (graphic designer, video maker, musician...). The works chosen for this exhibition are articulated around two concepts: text and sound. The word as an evocative of sound or a carrier of sound itself. Echo (White) and Echo (Black), two graphic installations for the same word. In Scratch Music (Gold) and Scratch Music (Silver), the text on the sur-face of these two papers, reminiscent of a vynil, is that of the nursery rhyme recorded by Edison "Mary had a lamb" in 1927. By scratching the needle on the surface of the paper, the text of this song in Japanese appears below. Between Voice and Waves: On a Wachi, extremely thin and suspended in space, are writ-ten words. Through this permutation of words, a verbal and sonorous cascade emerges. The graphic score Note is presented as a musical staff, or if you look closely, the hidden notes DO,RE,MI appear in the sentence.
Two other works by Yukio Fujimoto resonate with these works : the mirror object Echo II and the catalogue for Phono/Graph, which invites us to experience sound and touch by manipulating the various papers and by turning the pages of this book.

Yagi Lyota (1980) creates works based on mechanical systems and ready-to-use tools. By bringing these elements together, he modifies the functions of these objects, such as Stupa. Speakers of different sizes draw a fountain, from which the sound of a drop of water emerges. By diverting the "object" into "sound-object", these works stimulate the senses such as visual, sound, balance and time, as is also the case with the work Timer (Pastel Lemon). The spectator is invited to wear an headphone and handle the hourglass in order to perceive the delicate sound of the sand flow.

Mamoru Okuno’s (1977) artistic practice combines sound, music and visual arts. The installation A long listening journey of a Possible thiStory especially of Japanese & Dutch & something more was based on the source of a geography book published in Amsterdam in 1669, the first of its kind to present the Japanese people, culture and history of Japan in a global way to Western society. Over the past five years, the artist has conducted research from archives, filming and recording in the Netherlands, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan. This installation consists of four chapters. On each of the screens, these chapters deepen the specific details of the illustrations and related stories to unfold multiple layers embedded in 17th century imaginary Japan. And graft them to a possible present. The image, text and sound are concomitant and may or may not resonate at certain times. As the spectator’s imagery of this space increases, the meaning fades. And it allows him to go beyond the meaning and sound heard to open up to an unexpected space and create new listening conditions.

At a time when personal listening devices and custom playlists have become omnipresent, shared sound spaces are becoming increasingly rare. These artists question our relationship to our environment, to our daily life. They evoke history, fragments of memory, time and space. This exhibition is an invitation to an immersive sensory and auditory experience. A single space for various works echoes with each other, thus sketching the partition of an experience of the sensitive left to one’s interpretation of each one.