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January 11, 2007

‘SPIRAL’ by Kyoko Nagashima


Reviewed by Yukihiko Yoshida

[Posted by Yukihiko Yoshida] ‘SPIRAL’ by Kyoko Nagashima; text by Yukihiko Yoshida (dance performance critique)

A girl begins her move slowly as the audience is adjusting their view. It is a wonderland beyond image, and it looks reachable but nobody could even touch. An illusion opens up before my eyes like when I see contemporary dancers dancing. I saw this work of Kyoko Nagashima at Gallery 360°. An ordinary girl moves slowly in the video created by a lenticular lens. Watching ‘SPIN’ and ‘RHYTHM’ displayed in the gallery, I had to stop and stare at them for a while, because I felt there was something common to contemporary dance performance.

‘SPIRAL’ and ‘BATON’ are displayed in the current show. ‘SPIRAL’ is about politics, balance, and co-existence in everyday life. A girl is only climbing up the stairs. She stops slowly, starts off, sits down, and vanishes gradually…she keeps walking in the screen. Time passes quietly in the fantasy world of images. The picture of the girl is taken by a lenticular lens, and put in the panel to be displayed.

Kyoko Nagashima says that she has been asked often if she is interested in dance performance since when she presented the work by using a lenticular lens. She worked on visual images from the beginning, and in the process of revising them to a flat level, she came up with the idea of using a lenticular lens. She recently watched the film directed by Tatsumi Hijikata and went to see the performance by Pina Bausch. The girls in her works seem to have similar personalities with those dancers like Kaoru Uchida, Natsumi Tokoro, and Hiroko Fuchizawa from Roussewaltz who is fashionable, or HO HO-DO, a dance duo who is charming and friendly, or modern contemporary dancers like Satoko Yahagi and Hisano Yamanaka, who remind us of Alice in a big city (ex. in Yahagi's work,"Alicetopia"), or Chizuru Inagawa who shows off cute, but transparent sense of being. The girls are not dancers in Nagashima’s videos, but they are models whom people do not recognize. She says that she is interested in the feeling of the presence of a person. ‘Existing’, ‘being there’, ‘standing there’…out of this query, her creation is made somewhere where a link to reality is missing. The human figure in the video moves slowly and sits down. Then, the same person reappears, overlaps with the past image, and goes off to the side.

This kind of portrait of human being looks unreal and it has something in common with stage lighting. Like a photograph inverted by solarization, when an image is overlapped with another, unrealistic world is opening up in front of your eyes. ‘BATON’ (2006) is presented for the exhibition entitled A-LUNCH. This is a unique project in such a way that a waiter delivers an artwork to a customer at the table. Her artwork is in a box like a jewelry box delivered to the table. Open the box to find a portable device. It seems that Kyoko Nagashima is interested in the history of visual culture in a broader sense. A girl is standing ordinarily in the screen of the portable device, slowly lifting up her elbow to bend her arm, at the next moment, she is swiftly strolling away. The timing or an empty moment of her move tend to grow longer without any excitement, and it reminds me of the contemporary dance performance by Mariko Okamoto of "sputnik*gilu". The idea of this video is to hand over a baton to a viewer from inside the screen. There is no sense of relaying a baton in there. Images overlap one after another. A fantasy world and slowly passing time are continuing on in the small device on the palm of a hand.

Kyoko Nagashima once published booklets entitled, ‘ROUND’ and ‘WINK’ (1997), which focus on human motions of moving legs and blinking. At this early stage of her career, she tried to deal with the ‘phenomenon of someone being there’. This idea made her to create ‘DOOR’, ‘SPIN’, ‘RHYTHM’(2005), which portray a girl in everyday life in an imaginary building or a gymnastic hall. In ‘DOOR’, a girl is standing still in front of the door. In ‘RHYTHM’, ribbons are laid all over the floor of the gymnastic hall, and it gives the image of rhythmic gymnastics. It will be no exaggeration to say that this video evokes dance or performance. In reality, when Kyoko Nagashima composes moves for the model to do, she has the images in advance. ‘Two most important factors are open space and its corresponding moves,’ she says. Each move is absolutely natural in the context, and she never gives a meaning to it, according to her. The moves happen spontaneously on the spot and she shoots. This attitude is found in professional dancers and choreographers as well. The finished images are transferred in the form of a panel.

She studied oil painting at school and did drawing of human bodies on iron. Iron is a hard material, but it is something that rusts and decays to her. It is just like a human body. She used to take photographs of human bodies just for the record as a part of making artworks, and this is how she becomes a visual artist. It is a sincere fact that she cannot be categorized merely in a video artist or a fashionable boom. She is more than that. Unfortunately the overall tone underlying her work gives a vague impression whether she is willing or not, because the image that she creates could be regarded as just another nostalgic picture in our mind. She will need to take one step further to impress herself as an artist in this world. (At Gallery 360°4th August,2006)

Kyoko Nagashima:
tokyo-artists kyoko nagashima art works http://www.tokyo-arts.jp/kyokonagashima.html

Cf. Related Japanese Dance Artists

Satoko Yahagi and also Hisano Yamanaka, Satoko Yahagi "Alicetopia" and Mariko Okamoto "sputnik*gilu" http://www.turbulence.org/blog/archives/000660.html#comments

Posted by jo at January 11, 2007 09:23 AM