2023/3/1 - 15
Harmony Art Gallery,Shanghai
Everlasting Particle CORE
About Everlasting Particle Core and the Eternal World
I like meticulous images. There is a simple pleasure in the process of letting a loaded paintbrush or painting knife touch a piece of construction paper or printed material and feeling the miniscule particles of paint fill the fibers of the paper. Continuously engaging in this activity makes me feel as if I am able to grasp the core of the infinitesimal world of molecules and atoms. Of course, that is only in my mind. It is simply because I am in a focused trance. However, I have a vision and a hope that once I go beyond this state of extreme concentration, I can somehow come into contact with a world that transcends the limits of human cognition. This is one of the motivations behind my creations.
I also take pleasure in collaging images on a screen, adjusting tiny pixels, and repeating the process of copying and pasting. This differs from creating with a “tangible” material because in the display of images created by virtual electrons, technically, there is no smaller world beyond the pixels within the monitor. This virtual world continues to fascinate me.
These laborious processes let me momentarily forget that I am a human being, with a body that will one day perish through death. One reason that I obsess over characters and data is my severe thanatophobia (fear of death). I wish I could live forever, abandoning my body while maintaining only my consciousness. I understand that although this is something that happens frequently to characters in virtual worlds, it is not really feasible for me. It’s just something I yearn for.
Regarding the motifs that appear in my work, I like characters that appear on the internet, and subcultures like anime, manga, and video games. I spend many hours a day simply gazing at these images. My current style of artwork has developed from the desktop backgrounds I would create every day by combining these images together. Given my generation, I was deeply immersed in the Japanese subcultures from the 90’s to the 00’s and 2010’s, all of which influence the ambience and imagery of my work. If we take communication technology and the internet as developments of replication and printing technology, the biggest shift would be the exchange of intangible rather than material data. Various works have been liberated from “the material,” circulate at an ever faster pace as internet connections accelerate, and are consumed flexibly under subscription models. Characters that are birthed, consumed, and discarded one after another are compatible with this rapid format of content creation. This is also related to so-called time loop narratives and the “sekai-kei (world type)” genre. Characters and data proliferate and disappear. These characters are transient because they exist and are shared only as images, appearing via electrons, only temporarily on a monitor. Despite all of this, printed material is still in circulation. Paper and boxes are printed on, sold, bought, and sometimes carefully preserved. Why is it that printed matter continues to be reproduced when “the digital” can stand alone (even in moving and audible forms) simply through display on a monitor? Here, humanity’s natural attachment to “the material” reveals itself.
The same can be said for my persistence with creating material works. Undeniably, art works that can be created purely as data exist in tandem with various possibilities. However, there is a part of me that is unable to let go of the material; I cannot abandon the paint or the support where the particles intertwine with each other. Perhaps I am also bound to my body as material. At the same time, I cannot let go of the pixels before they are converted into particles and pigments in printed matter. In order to materialize both of these forms of expression in my work, I create the image as data, print it out, and then continue to work on the physical image. Although I had intended to use StareReap as a temporary approach, I believe the capabilities of this technology far exceed such a role. It is a reassuring medium that connects the two forms of expression: the material and the virtually created light of electrons. It reflects the images I create on the monitor and the additions made by hand. At first glance, it may seem to be a flat surface, but upon closer observation, the works have a meticulously detailed three-dimensional effect. This gives the illusion that the ghosts of the characters, from their continual process of creation and consumption, have materialized in a different form in the artwork.
Living forever may not be an easy feat. However, I believe that within the transitory moments of hyperfocus and the world of characters and data, there are clues to achieving eternal life.
I create my works with this in mind: within every miniscule core, there exists an eternal world.
Needless to say, printing was invented as a type of reproduction technology. Since ancient times, people have studied various printing techniques. In contemporary art, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol have reinterpreted the meaning of “reproduction” by exploring the ideas of consumption and death which lie behind it. Umezawa's work can be understood as an extension of these ideas. His work also refers again and again to the exceedingly rapid cycle of consumption and rebirth of subcultures in contemporary Japanese society. In his practice, Umezawa frequently reuses illustrations from his previous works, and often adopts compositions reminiscent of mandalas. It is as if his images are continually reincarnating, and the works in this exhibition show us a glimpse of this side of his work.