Replica Custom

text for brochure : solo exhibition at Gallery Koyanagi

written by Makoto Murata

Upon discussing about Nakamura's new work :Replica Custom, the precedent Replica should be brought into our attention. Replica was first exhibited at a corporate art space ZOOM, run by a car engine company Zexel in 1998. It is an airplane-modeled sculpture, but with no actual mechanics contained. In short,it is a bluff and even deceiving. However, the design itself is to anyone's eye " The world's fastest" in most standard understanding.

Whereas Replica Custom is the improved, second version from Replica. if to compare the two, a pair of engines (or engine-like parts) is removed, the wing is shortened to be more like fins, the bottom of the front edge is now takes from for the ground-use than fly. Seemingly, the structure is supposed to run on the ground. Of course it does not actually drive, and these differences do not mean so much after all. If we take closer look, more important element is the decorative design on the surface at the edge. Nakamura has worked on fire-pattern, just after Replica. Fire is a pattern frequently used by the speed-gangs as a decoration for their motorcycles like a festival float, or a wagon car attached strange fins on both sides. This pattern became an interest for the artist. These decoration on the cars and motorcycles are only to threaten and hoax. They have no function, moreover, it is illegal to drive them in the public streets. So not only are they technically difficult to drive, but is it also prohibited to. This means these are made only to be seen, not to be driven, "bluffing" is an understood factor from the beginning in these decorative cars. No wonder Nakamura was drawn to it.

I repeat here that, simply to look fast is the raison etre of Replica, since it has eliminated function. Needless to say, the quality of looking fast is not universal. Good old Thunderbird with organic rounded shape,and Stealth fighter plane with straight,geometric design do not resemble each other at all. The preference on speedy-shape changes, depending on the demand at time. Maybe this is the reason why Nakamura made this Replica Custom a series to work on.

The shape of his new sculpture reminds me strange creatures of the Cambrian era. The era(500 million years ago) is also known as "the evolution laboratory", for it was exploded by strange looking sea creatures in rapid evolution. However, as evolution advances abruptly, more is it apt to come to a deadlock. Everything that evolves, is bound to the possibility to come to its end; whether it be a jet, an automobile, all the more a living creature. However, the series on Replica does not hold any end to its development, for the series itself was started from the utmost point. What we are curious to see is how and until which point the series continues its evolution.

Makoto Murata 1999