Shinro Ohtake: Paper – Sight
Supported by Friends of STPI
25 Sep – 5 Nov 2016
Pasture, 2015, Paper pulp painting, 356 x 459 cm.
Produced at STPI - Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore.
© Shinro Ohtake/STPI
This September, STPI Gallery presents Paper – Sight, the first solo exhibition in Singapore by Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake that marks the artist’s extraordinary endeavor in print and papermaking, showcasing some 30 of 140 unique and edition works executed at an incredible pace during his residency with the STPI Workshop in 2015. Highlights include a series of large-scale fluorescent paper pulp paintings—a technical feat for both Ohtake and STPI—as well as a 320-page sculptural scrapbook, consisting of 160 individual artworks, that parallel his ongoing Scrapbook series of 68 artist books spanning over nearly four decades.
“It was a brand-new challenge creating images using a ladle instead of a brush, but the expressive approaches derived from experimenting with a size I had never tried before in [papermaking] led to a big evolution for me. There was the possibility of realizing new ideas,” says Ohtake.
The prolific use of neon yellow coating is particularly striking in the gamut of juxtaposing colours and imagery. Referencing uranium (“yellowcake”) and radiation, the acerbic colour emanates Ohtake’s preoccupation with a sense of life’s transience following the March 3rd Great East Japan earthquake and Fukushima disasters in 2011. The works act as recordings of radioactive contamination and can be seen as a response to concerns it raised around nuclear energy, threats from nature, considerations of the earth and the universe, and relations between families and homes affected by the disaster.
Ohtake’s characteristic style and sensibility towards amassed content and “pasted pictures” remain heavily apparent in the exhibition. Only this time, recurrent themes and familiar motifs of nature and found images culled from the artist’s daily life are appropriated in an amalgamation of new materials, techniques and multi-neon colour palettes, resulting in a bold and unapologetic body of work.
Deeply rooted in daily life, this exhibition harks back to basics of Ohtake’s practice, which is the process of collecting, chronicling and re-presenting the contents of life and time. Rather than suggesting a specific commentary or narrative, the process stems from the artist’s interest in the different strands of time embodied in each material, and it is this dense layering of multiple times existing in one moment that his works illustrate. For as Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director of the New Museum, New York, and the 55th Venice Biennale (where Ohtake’s scrapbooks were displayed as part of ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’) described them, “they are a reflection on the ways in which images have been used to organize knowledge and shape our experience of the world.”
This exhibition is held in conjunction with SJ50, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Singapore-Japan diplomatic relations, and made possible with the generous support of our Friends of STPI.