Motomiya Kaoru

Posted on March 15, 2011


New York Arts Magazine

“Her current research concerns transformations in the image of the human body over the centuries, and cultural variations on the same theme. Her two-dimensional format derives from nineteenth-century Japanese scientific prints. In her three-dimensional works she often focuses on the rabbit, a popular image in Japanese consumer culture, where it is rendered as cute and affectionate. But Motomiya aims to return the animal to our direct perception, showing it as lukewarm in life and stiff in death. She contrasts her experience of dissection with the preference of many of her contemporaries for the superficial, which has enjoyed such widespread popularity among Japanese youth since 1980s, and which permeates both computer games and television shows. Her art proposes that such mass media devices undermine the individual’s sensitivity to the complexity or abjection of living things. Her broader subject is the widespread denial of reality in the society in which she lives.”

Mizuma  Art Gallery

“Motomiya Kaoru is known for creating installation works that put focuses on body in an environment, often showing works both in Japan and oversea. Since 2000, she has been doing “restoration” of “broken things” through having a dialogue with its past and using the unique Japanese technique “Kintsugi.” This “restore regeneration” project has been done at over seven different countries.

“Kintsugi” is a restoration technique inherited as a traditional craft to fill in cracks of pottery with Urushi, and coating it with a gold powder with an original Japanese philosophy “to enjoy the new view without hiding a flaw.” Triggered off by this reversal idea of converting the negative element of flaw into beauty, Motomiya has extended this idea to our everyday lives. Her restoration reaches throughout all environments from everyday objects: china, furniture, and clothes, to buildings and extinct species. In 2003, she held a workshop at South Beach Mental Hospital in New York where participants were to break the plates with a text of their personal experiences and to join the broken parts with “kintsugi”, as if this act were restoring their heart. In the same year, Motomoiya exhibited a fictional restoration of a broken bridge she had witnessed its bombing in Serbia Montenegro, with golden dandelions showing further development of the project.

Motomiya who says, “not only aging bodies of organism require treatment, but also town, building, bridge and forest is alive repeating restoration and regeneration”, has restored broken snail shells in Melbourne in 2004. By applying a technique usually used for antique ceramics to a snail shell that is part of a living form, everything from body of organism to city is captured by through a same point of view ? as one- making us feel as if her activity has bound the world that we live in.

This exhibition will present five years record of the project “restoration regeneration”, video of workshops, open production of doing “Kintsugi” to the gallery floor, and “white book”(2005) exhibited in Bangkok: an installation piece comprised of silk strips of a translated text of a tale by Thai children featuring on a “gap” created through a process of translation.”