geukens & de vil contemporary art gallery antwerp knokke special events: UN-SCR-1325 power of drawing artists of the gallery:sophie kuijken ruben bellinkx bert de beul peter de meyer masashi echigo herbert hamak gideon kiefer peter lindbergh sofie muller jaromir novotny daniel pitin
Masashi Echigo GEUKENS & DE VIL
Masashi Echigo's wandering existence seems to be guided by the conviction that each object, more than any other narrative, has the singular capacity to evoke lived moments. Travelling around Europe for some years, the artist has gathered and restored each experience through individual installations that are able to dialogue with the context in both spatial and emotional terms, balanced between art and architecture.
Each experience is linked to the previous ones in the formation of a complex and enigmatic map that recounts the relationship between Echigo and the host cities, the empathy established with people, but above all a sort of initiatory journey through the play of a ceaseless oscillation between outward and inward glance. This is also Masashi Echigo's approach for his installation Immanence in front of façade of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, curated by Angelandreina Rorro. Invited by the artists' residence Qwatz to spend two months in Rome in summer 2010, it was during the preparation of Stories that the museum commissioned Echigo to create an installation. While in the case of Stories Echigo found a way of bringing the city into the exhibition spaces, at the Galleria Nazionale the artist chose to show the city objects which, usually invisible, reveal the most 'intimate' sides of the institution in an itinerary that runs from the entrance stairway to the gardens. Discarded office furniture, old filing cabinets and an out-of-fashion mailing list apparatus which Echigo found while rummaging through the museum storerooms have been cleansed of all descriptive residue in the attempt to reduce them to volumes of pure immanence.
Masashi Echigo was one of the four artists invited to participate in the exhibition entitled The Fifth Element. Taking place in the public space, the intention was to show how vague the line is between what we call public and what we view as private. The ancient idea of four elements is invested with the eternal need to tame chaos and the dream to attain cosmic harmony. Are we actually able to achieve this while we balance the events and objects of the material world that we struggle to control? We have explored a tiny fragment of a district in one town: home gardens, territories of displaced homes, and the nearby places visited by local residents. The invited artists faced the task of cooperating with the locals by introducing an unexpected element into their lives.Masashi Echigo cooperated with the owner of a building whom, despite having been evicted, comes here every day to feed his pigeons and to think back on old times. Masashi installed his work, a kind of cage, in the dovecote. Inspired in shape by the actual cages installed inside, it repeats the form at a larger, human scale. The inside of the cage, which connects the interior to the exterior, has been filled with the domestic appliances of the former owner. Masashi created a sort of a frame, or a space to allow the work to 'grow', and introduced into the collected past the dynamics that run toward what was to be met outside.
In the summer of 2010, I curated a group exhibition in the context of the annual Watou Kunst en Poëzie Zomer in the village of Watou, right on the border of Belgium and France. The exhibition, Past in Present brought together an international group of artists working in diverse media, ranging from painting to kinetic installation, and from video to live music. I invited artist Masashi Echigo to build a site-specific installation in one of the vacated rooms of Watou's old cloister. In between, the title of Echigo's work, is a collection of fifteen church chairs and fifteen marble gravestones. Each gravestone has a date carved into it. Unlike the graves in the churchyard across the
Masashi Echigo GEUKENS & DE VILstreet from Watou's old cloister, Echigo's stones come with a birth date only, and no names. Inspired by the local breweries that together produce thirteen different beers, Echigo made an installation that relates to the locality and typicality of this West Flemish region (by carving each beer's birth year on a gravestone), and, more importantly, created a daunting atmosphere that leaves no visitor untouched. The great absentee in this work is death, which thereby makes its presence even more tangible. Awkwardly, the serene character and sombre execution of In Between add something humane, personalized, and confrontational to the work. Suggestively, Echigo confronts us with our own mortality, our own destination in life. Or not. These are open, lingering graves, perhaps never to be closed to anyone or anything. So time will continue to pass through our present.
Masashi Echigo created the installation Interweave specifically for the group exhibition 'The Morning News' at Be-Part. Responding to the theme of the personal anxiety caused by the influx of media and information encountered on a daily basis, Masashi's work consists of three kilometres of repurposed Internet cable in two colours – the blue representing a slightly faster connection than the grey. Using the popular 'scoubidou' technique of weaving four individual strands into one thick rope (typically seen in friendship bracelets exchanged by primary school students), he seamlessly combines these two cable types to create a literal interpretation of both the speed and the entanglement of information. Through the unique architecture of Be-Part, where at moments the interior exhibition spaces unexpectedly open-up to the outdoor garden, Interweave is permitted to simultaneously wrap the building in the cable and penetrate its visual field, mocking the inter-dimensionality of information itself. Masashi's compounding of three kilometres of cable into its final length of 150 metres as a physical realization of the 'world wide web' recalls Marcel Duchamp's infamous 'Mile of String' from 1924. However, rather than complicating the ability to view the other works in the exhibition, Masashi's piece is able to elucidate the exhibition's concept with acute clarity.
The moment you entered the space of Lokaal 01_Antwerpen one could discern a clear structure that possibly would have reminded you of a toy stage or a small amphitheatre that was made of steel bookshelves. The pavilion Echigo had created was open on one side and allowed you, as a visitor, to enter the work. Next to the structure there were two big spotlights that formed two impressive shadows of the construction on the wall behind it. Because the structure is transparent, two intertwined patterns appeared. Shadow puppetry was used to bring back the life of beloved ones, or to create heroes and villains and tell tales that have been told for thousands of years; an enigmatic world created by the artist appeared in the space of Lokaal 01. Masashi Echigo had formed a theatre without acts, movement or linear dialogue. The whole installation was condensed with information and imagination, and determined the space as never before. It referred to knowledge, tectonics, scenery, the allegory of the cave, deprivation and loss. The work of Masashi Echigo is often about memory and remembrance, about observation and observance. With this work he additionally managed to describe the existence of the space he worked in, in an exciting prolific way. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is an expression people use for the fact that the time you spend apart makes you care for a person even more... Here the expression could be interpreted as if the absence of what's in-between the structure and its shadow is a whole world of things that got lost on their way, or for a world of memories and, perhaps, mythical stories. The installation made inside the space at Lokaal 01 was about things that were not visible, about the absence of things. And by presenting this absence, Echigo intensified the existence of the space.
What is this room installation about? Masashi Echigo's basic artistic position places exterior and interior spaces in relation to one another. The magic of his room installations derives from the confrontation of inside with outside. He attempts to bring together the past and the present on one level. Thus the thematic spectrum of time and history is always compelling in his work. Masashi had never been in Austria before, nor does he speak German. He is always amazed how communication actually functions despite language barriers. And Masashi characterises the communication outside the protective space of the studio as an important part of his art. This is the reason why, in the end, he had the idea of condensing this period of research into a room installation. Masashi describes ideas as fragile, extremely fugitive moments that are always a significant part of his process-directed art. Appearance. The name of this exhibition has various meanings. It may mean what is on the surface: the outward form. But it can also mean the act of becoming visible or emerging into the field of vision. And this is exactly what concerns Masashi. By finding and collecting things, and thereafter using them as necessary to his art (wooden cabins, old doors, chandeliers and brass beds, beams dating from 1790) he attempts, figuratively speaking, to delve under the surface. He wants to bring to light what has been hidden in history and so integrate what is available, what he finds, and what he sees as characteristic of the region around Krems, as a crucial element of his work.
Masashi Echigo concerns himself with a phenomenon he regards as specifically European: borders. Japan is an island and thus there is no border except to the sea. In Europe there are many borders, and though with the coming of the EU they have lost their meaning, in the minds of many people they are still present. He was invited to Watou in Belgium to make a piece of work for a large historical art exhibition. On a plot of ground he found an old border post. "Grensland (border country) – the mere name of the place indicates that we are dealing with a border area. In the past, borders changed frequently. I wanted to make this forgotten border the subject of my installation." He found material in orphaned buildings: old doors and windows, for him the symbols of the border because they separate inside from outside. He placed these doors and windows in the field, along the line of the historical border. "My work always has to do with history, with time and with space", the artist sums-up, "and with people, of course."
Here, a clear, open space on the top floor of Transfo, a former power plant. After observing the environment and the architecture, and being informed of its history, Masashi Echigo is ready to bring the space back into existence. While observing, he examines what kind of object trouvés he could exploit. Looking outside the Transfo, Masashi is in search of useful materials and explains why he prefers to turn to Transfo and work with objects he can collect on the site. He concludes that the objects are already suitable due to the fact that they belong to the place. After visiting almost every corner of the power plant, the idea is to take out the wall-to-wall carpet from the upper floors of the former director and caretaker's house and hang them on level 5. After promising to bring back the carpets to their original place once the exhibition is done, the culture official gives the green light.What we see is a work of art whereby a steel cable is stretched from one corner of the space to the other with the wall-to-wall carpets draped over it. Throughout the process of creating the blank space anew using locally collected materials, one becomes more aware of what is there, although it was undiscovered until that moment. The monumental installation of Masashi Echigo at Transfo is bright, striking, and of a contemplative nature.
During his residencies, Masashi Echigo makes long walks around the area where he stays. The things he observes, the talks he has and the materials he finds are the ingredients for his site-specific installations. In Eindhoven, Masashi mostly wandered around industrial or post-industrial areas like Strijp S, a part of Eindhoven that is being redeveloped. In a metal scrap yard Masashi found materials that triggered his fascination for memory: a cubic metre of tinware (pewter). The box contained commemorative medals and plates, prize cups and decorative objects. The items once belonged to a citizen of Eindhoven. Masashi also found five metal 'cages' that the scrap yard uses for transporting metal, and a number of iron gratings. By welding iron table-legs of two different sizes to gratings, he created slanting 'tables'. After placing the tables in the cages, he piled the cages onto each other like an apartment building. By placing slanting tables in the cages, Masashi managed to break the monotonous grid. At close proximity, one was able to see the details of the cages and the tinware inside. The weathered cages had different colours and partly-rusted texts and numbers on them. The carefully displayed tinware consisted of a varied collection of plates, cups, pots and vases. In the past, tin was used to make common kitchen and dinner table articles. Later these common items were reproduced as decorative objects – objects that had a special place in the living room. They are now considered old-fashioned and stuffy.So actually, Masashi created a kind of memento. A memento for a citizen of Eindhoven that once lived? Or an ode to memory itself?
The first impression of this installation is chaotic; parts of the space are fenced-in by a jumble of building fences. At some corners, floor lamps are inserted. A closer look reveals that the fences have been placed in such a way that the visitor is forced in a certain direction. By walking through the installation you notice the artist has defined the space by using the old grid of SYB. The modern architectural addition to the building has been closed but is still visible through the bars. The space is closed and yet open. A subtle detail is the open backdoor that leads to the garden. The fences have been placed such that the room cannot be entered from the garden even though the door is always open. With this installation, Echigo denies the physical space of the modern architecture. Through the denial of the new structure he puts emphasis on the original building plan. A good example of this is the way Echigo forces the visitor towards the authentic window situated in the centre of the backroom. The open window is a passage to the past via which Echigo makes us forget the present. Some things also drawn from the past are the old-fashioned lamps, which are a symbolic reference to whatever happens behind the window. The lamps protrude into the linear form of the fences but also give us a way out. This shows us that although the fences are barriers, they also provide an opportunity for us to see through.
Masashi Echigo Born in 1982 in Toyama prefecture, Japan Works and lives in Belgium and Japan E-mail email@example.com Tel (Mobile) (+81) - (0) 90 – 6014- 5294 (Japan) (+43) - (0) 48 – 957- 2902 (Belgium) Education 2010 Laureate, HISK, Higher Institute for Fine Arts (Ghent, Belgium) 2007 M.A, (Architecture) Musashino Art University (Tokyo, Japan) Received the Graduation Award 2005 B.A, (Architecture) Musashino Art University (Tokyo, Japan) Received the Graduation Award Individual Exhibitions since 2008 2010 Masashi Echigo: Immanence National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy Stories, Galleria Extraspazio, Rome, Italy The absence, Lokaal 01, Antwerp, Belgium 2009 Masashi Echigo, De Overslag, Eindhoven, the Netherlands Appearance, Factory Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, Austria Encounter, Kusthuise SYB, Beeterzwaag, the Netherlands 2008 Lost Space, Cacaofabriek, Helmond, the Netherlands Selected Group Exhibitions since 2008 2010 Thank you for tomorrow, Ghent, Belgium aggetti- progettazioni - proiezioni - prominenze -protuberanze –sporgenze Galleria Extraspazio, Rome, Italy Otherwise, NAKED STATE, Brussels, Belgium The Fifth Elements, Gdansk, Poland Terminal Beauty, NAKED STATE, Brussels, Belgium Watou kunst en Poezie Zomer: Past in Present, Watou, Belgium BAT 10: Beeldenroute Anti-tankgracht, Antwerp, Belgium Guest ROOM #10 Museum Het Domein SITTARD, Sittard, the Netherlands The Morning News BE- PART Platform voor actuele kunst, Waregem, Belgium One little Indian, And Then There Were None La Generale en Manufacture.6, Paris, France 2009 Onder Spanning, Zwevegem, Belgium Watou kunst en Poezie Zomer: Polyphonie:, Grenslandhal, Watou, Belgium 2008 Summer show, Contemporary Art Project, London, UK Light Project, Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam, the Netherlands Masashi Echigo GEUKENS & DE VIL Award & Grants 2010 Receiving support from Yoshino Gypsum Art Foundation 2009 Receiving support from Asahi Shimbun Foundation 2008 Receiving support from Nomura Cultural Foundation 2006 Awarded Hashimoto Syu-ei Prize Residences 2010 qwartz, Rome, Italy (June – July, 2010) BE- PART Platform voor actuele kunst, Waregem, Belgium (February – June 2010) Lokaal 01, Antwerp, Belgium (January 2010) 2009 De Overslag, Eindhoven, the Netherlands (November 2009) AIR Krems, Krems, Austria (July – August 2009) Kunsthouse SYB, Beetetrzswaag, the Netherlands (March – April 2009) 2008 Cacaofabriek, Helmond, the Netherlands (November 2008) Scottish Sculpture Workshop, Scotland, UK (August 2008) Foundation B.a.d, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (April – June, August – September 2008) Open studio, Artist Talk & Workshop 2010 Open Studio HISK (Ghent, Belgium) Book presentation, BE-PART Platform voor Actuele Kunst (Waregem, Belgium) 2009 Open Studio HISK (Ghent, Belgium) Open Studio (Factory Kunst Halle Krems, Austrria) Workshop at the Kunsthouse SYB (Beetetrzswaag, the Netherlands) 2008 Artist Talk at the Duende (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) Artist Talk at the foundation B.a.d (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) Publication 2010 Masashi Echigo: Stories / Art Paper Editions Past in Present, Watou 2010/ P31 BAT 10: Beeldenroute Anti-tankgracht / P 26-27 The Morning News/ P 96-97 2009 Polyphonie, Watou 2009/ P31 2008 Masashi Echigo: 2005 ~ 2007