The Exhibition II

The first exhibition day we had an opening party where all of us artists gathered with all the guests and the Studio Kura personnel. We took a tour around all the exhibition spaces and all the artists had a chance to say something about their work. It was quite scary even if I had a practice run with Katsura, I tend to stutter and be very incoherent in front of a bigger crowd. I don't know if I said anything interesting or poignant enough when it was my turn to talk about my work but at least I didn't faint of anything.

The party started at the Kura Gallery where a lot of people had come to meet us. There were even some familiar people, some people from Muta-san's English lesson and this very sweet Japanese lady who actually is a big Finland fan! It was very weird to meet somebody here who actually knows something about my country, Finland is so tiny and obscure that it seems very strange that somebody would find it interesting. She even knew a few Finnish words! Her pronunciation was very good, I think that Finnish and Japanese actually share a certain type of pronunciation so while both languages are probably quite difficult, both nationalities can easily sound authentic enough when speaking.

We toured around the residency houses and listened to all the artists explain the inspiration and origin of their work. It was very fascinating, though again I felt somehow very superficial in my fantasy-world themes. Many artists have either a very unique medium in which they work, like Cathy who does wonderful photograms, or they have an important message they want to tell with their work, like Thomas whose exhibition was about disabled artists. Many artists have both. I feel like mine is quite vague and breezy in a way. I might have deep thoughts behind some photos, but they're often kind of far-fetched and I feel sometimes I've failed in relaying them to the viewer. Many photo artists do journalistic, factual photos, at the end of the day, but mine are pure constructed reality. I don't know if storytelling through photos is really high or good art. But that's what I do. It's too expensive and difficult to make movies so I make photos that tell a cinematic story, I feel. I'm just not sure if it's an art film or a Hollywood blockbuster. Or maybe a tired indie flick nobody ever sees?

Well, be it what it is, after all the artist talks Preema gave us a very intense and moving performance with Ayame, who was also the model for my photos for the exhibition.

Intense is really the word for this performance. Jarring could be another. It was intimate and made a lot of the audience uncomfortable, though I think that's what it was meant to do. If I didn't have my camera as a shield, I would have been really uncomfortable too. There was something very raw about these two women, writhing with each other and spreading paint on each other's teary faces. When I looked at the photos later, I felt I had been intruding on something very private and intimate. I guess I felt it while taking the photos, but the opportunity was just so priceless, I had to grab a hold of it and I couldn't really let any feelings I might have stop me. It's really rare to get close-ups of somebody crying like this, so I just had to snap a photo after another.

At some point a little girl came to the yard and started laughing. She was so cute, pointing at the two women and giggling happily, I think it was hilarious for her that these two adults were making a huge mess of their faces. Most of us were probably a bit afraid that she'd feel disturbed by the performance, but she was just amused and when it was over, she went to offer her mirror to the performers, laughing all the way when they saw their own faces. Children can often show you a completely different dimension about art, or pretty much anything.


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