“Time Flows: Reflections by 5 Artists”
@Hara Museum | September 19, 2020 – January 11, 2021
Group exhibition with works by Tomoki Imai, Tamotsu Kido, Lee Kit, Masaharu Sato, Tokihiro Sato
The renowned Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Shinagawa, Tokyo is scheduled to permanently close by January, 2021. The farewell exhibition Time Flows attempts to draw actual memories”, instead of pictures in their phones. Similar to the Anomaly show, the Hara Museum also sees the necessity to stay attuned to the reality of society, using this final opportunity to “find clues that can help us better notice the details of 2020 with the chance of remembering them”.
The museum enjoys a history of working with artworks in diversified media and artists of various nationalities, ages, and gender, such as CY Twombly’s drawing and painting, Ming Wong’s video installation, and Sophie Calle’s writing and photography. However, the museum decided to exclusively work with Japanese male artists for its last show, with the only exception being the Taiwan-Hong Kong artist Lee Kit, whose sole piece on display is the installation Flowers (2018) which is part of the Hara collection, and is being shown at exactly the same location as it was in Lee’s solo show at the museum two years ago. In the 2018 exhibition, Lee’s skillful light projection found its way to respond to the architecture’s uniqueness, orchestrating the projected light and natural light and shadow to organically dance with each other. Today, none of that charm remains among the leftovers.
Medium-wise, the exhibition mainly focuses on photography, with earlier works and pieces especially made for Hara Museum to capture its last scenery by Tomoki Imai, Tamotsu Kido, and Tokihiro Sato. Hundreds of photos featuring their function of “noticing and recording” are on display, yet the audience is invited to develop “actual memories” and not take pictures. A joke on everyone? Making its way within the company of the photos are the late artist Masaharu Sato’s partially-animated video loops. These are short videos without any camera movement from the 2015-2016 series Tokyo Trace (again belonging to the Hara collection) are closer to photography than video, while beautifully adding a slight sense of solitude made possible precisely by the quiescent movements in the frame. Figures and objects are carefully picked out and animated, looking innocent and unnoticed, as if they are secretly planted in another universe which we call real, where we’ve become blind to the difference.