to go towards the light and shine it on our night
from September 18th to October 31st 2015
Following Le Temps d’Après (2014) and A Singular Community, Alexandre Maubert’s latest solo show this spring at Mori Yu gallery in Kyoto, the artist presents to go towards the light and shine it on our night at the Escougnou-Cetraro gallery. Questioning his ongoing journey through Japan, a trip he undertook three years ago starting at Villa Kujoyama, he ponders his ethno-decentering, his initiation to history and its myths – shaping a nation’s identity – through a research work towards the shapes that would embrace his new aesthetic world. From his immersion emerges a poetic aspect that, where the truth is impossible to be told, expresses itself in sensitive terms, recounting the adventures of his mind and sharing his quest: this exhibition centers around three experience phases.
Following a scenario evolving in the course of his encounters and discoveries, the exhibited artwork plays a part in outlining new configurations to the visible, the speakable and the thinkable, and thereby, a new landscape of the possible. His works are fragments inviting us to question history beyond the image, and call for the political power of images. From Studio number 5 (emblem of the Toei Studios dedicated to the “Edo-Jidai” movies , where Takashi Miike shot the remake of Hara- kiri ) to Milk (a fabrication crossing painting and photography through cinema), he refers to history and the way history is transmitted – and controlled. He also questions Japan through Shodenji’s overwhelming ambivalence, showing us its blood ceiling preserved in memory of The Last Statement of Torii Mototada – one of bushido’s credo, “the way of the warrior”. He takes us from the Aokigahara Forest, a place as beautiful as disturbing , to the very controversial Yasukuni Shinto sanc- tuary in Tokyo. When looking at the monument dedicated to the mothers , that the statue raised in memory of the army’s modernizer in the Meiji era overlooks, we see how this place writes – or even rewrites – history and invites us to look upon it. At the Fussa festival, it’s a tribute to Passolini and the shimmering of the fireflies – that outlive Japan after all. At a time when events such as the Paris Summit and the bomb’s 70th anniversary take place, and Japan is moved by the reconsider- ation of Article 9 of the Constitution coming along unprecedented strikes ignored by part of the media, those images also call to mind the posters torn by a hand that would want to overshadow history, memory, and the hope related to it.
In a second part stamped by his aesthetic renewal, the artist changes pace through an interlude represented here by the norens, a symbol of commercial prosperity as well as partitions differentiating the inside from the outside, and the new Accidents, those irradiant sculptures evoking traditional Japanese houses’ windows, protecting privacy. Whereas the night seems to be the world in which the first part of the exhibition settles, the works of art we find in the second section reveal a glimmer of hope and refer to the challenges Japan has to take up.
These works take us to the latest movie Alexandre Maubert made and bring us to the exhibition title, borrowed from Jean Luc Godard’s definition of cinema . “Trinity” questions Kyoto’s science-fictional mythology. It takes the form of fiction-doc- umentary where he lets “his” trinity express itself. Lord defender Mao-son, who came from Venus 6,5 millions years ago, Sun Bishamonten and Love Senju-kannon, who make up a syncretic trinity, are embodied by another kind of aliens, the “gaijins” – foreigners in Japanese. This is how he proceeds a shifting associating with humor metaphysical mystery with mystery of alterity, and resonates with the Christ’s grave found in Shingo . Along the pictorial and video images, and the words the actors say – the actors losing their assigned characters so as to deliver their experience to the journalist-artist – “humanity fragments” come to the surface.
Therefore, film, photography, painting, posters and narrative intertwine their powers and exchange their peculiarity to de- pict Alexandre Maubert’s “pensive Japan”, who, rather than “taking sides” endeavors to “take a position” – that is to say trying to turn the eyes away and elude power with new aesthetic – and cathartic – forms. Because “emancipation begins when we dismiss the opposition between looking and acting” , and this is how we can go towards the light and shine it on our night.
1. Historical and period movies – with samurais – made in studio film sets
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