POSE "One Layered World"

Noi Sawaragi

Surface is a mysterious element. To take for example,a mirror; what is the "depth" of a mirror? Of course, a mirror itself does not have any depth. Although a sense of depth is reflected from it, a mirror is simply a flat surface, and a world created by mirrors world have no profundity. A mirror has this strange element--we are invited into a world of infinity by its superficiality.

Ironically, when a small "dent",i e depth, is found on the surface of a mirror, the world made of its reflection becomes uncloaked of its illusion. In other terms, the thinner the surface of a mirror and less its depth becomes, the deeper and thicker is its world would. A comparison between this superficiality and profundity is sometimes made. However, as we can see from the example of a mirror, superficiality can also create many profound spaces. Paintings, photographs and films utilize perspective techniques in order to illustrate things which are not actually there. Illusory space in paintings,the clarity of photographs, and the immediacy of film are qualities absolutely inseparable from the painted surface treatment, the film development and the movie screen. The more transparent their surfaces become,the more profound the worlds created by them appear.

Tetsuya Nakamura's theme has been associated with the surface, as well as with cultural superficiality. In either case, he aims to visualize things that are not actually there. This theme is admirably illustrated by his three most recent works. These sculptures are aggressive poses of different beings from nature. It is needless to say that Nakamura's theme takes his work beyond a vivid realization in space--these works are unique in their ability to disillusion reality.

The world which seems true and profound is suspected of being superficial and void of content--in fact, these two opposite worlds are suggested to exist back to back.

This dualism in the focus of the artist's contemplation. Dignity,history and tradition, as well as aesthetics and ideology, are domains which contain depth and thickness to the extreme,and these become the cultural subjects of Nakamura's objects. Nakamura formalizes the coherent "danger" in them, by showing that prestige is always dependent on social techniques which support the perfection of its surface.

It is no accident that Nakamura uses grandiose materials such as lacquer, nacre and gold foils to portray this danger. Their crafted and beautiful refinement on the surface has the ability to portray history, dignity, value and aesthetics dramatically.

Nakamura exhibits three pieces at this exhibition, all standing in their natural poses of aggression; a wolf, a lizard, and a young boy. Of course, his objective is not simply to depict the aggressive poses from nature realistically. He takes these biological poses,them translates them into a cultural language, using his technique of surface treatment. These works appear deluxe and expensive, and because of this, they look even truly dangerous. Nakamura indicates that our culture, draping itself in poses of power and expense, is in these qualities already aggressive. He also ominously implies how human culture is undershadowed by our own biology.

Noi sawaragi 1997