© Ryusuke Kido, Inner Light - City H (detail). Courtesy the artist and Christine Park Gallery (New York)
Ryusuke Kido (b. 1984) is a contemporary Japanese artist who lives and works in Tokyo. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. In 2012, his work won a major award through exhibiting at the Bloomberg Pavilion Project hosted by Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, and a solo exhibition, Inner Light, was subsequently held at the same space. Kido combines his artistic practise with his role as Project Assistant Professor of Global Art Practice at Tokyo University of the Arts. The artist attended the fair in person, and we caught up with him to learn more about his practice.
You will exhibit your installation work Inner Light - City H that was first exhibited at the MOT Bloomberg Pavilion Project, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan in 2012. Could you explain the work in your own words? What inspired this work?
The original idea and concept of the “Inner light” series came up at the exhibition of Tokyo Wonder Site in 2012. I carved the wall to erode the wall like cancer, and there my sculpture made holes in the wall and the light entered the room through these holes of the wall. The reason for making this work is the 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan and the accident at the nuclear power plant caused by the Tsunami. This created trauma and fear for the invisible pollution among us. Thinking about the damage and influence by invisible things has given me endless anxiety and fear. I felt as if something would spread out in my body from the bottom of my heart, like a bug or cancer invented by the mind. However, we cannot flee from that anxiety and move to a different place, because our home is here. In order to survive in this place, it was necessary to make a work that can find a positive value from the negativity spreading in the bottom of my heart. In my work, damages on the surface will create light. In other words, I tried to make works that mix both negativity and positivity. Also, this invisible feeling of anxiety changed the way I view beautiful scenes. When I see beautiful scenery in front of me, I begin to think of what is behind that scenery. I feel that maybe that beautiful scenery is contaminated and deserted, or it will be contaminated someday. Not only that, but I am aware that there is always a lot of history and many stories behind such landscapes. Landscape paintings do not depict just the landscapes themselves, but they also depict how people observe and think of the landscape. It is a sort of a mirror for the viewer. In that sense, I am trying to carve out what I could draw if I were to draw a landscape painting - but in my own ways, as a sculptor.
Could you explain how you used photography to create this work?
The works are acrylic mounted inkjet photographs, carved on the acrylic side. The acrylic mirror is mounted on the back of the photograph, after all carving is done. When viewers look into the eroded landscape, they will encounter their own reflections.
You work across installation, photography, sculpture and more - what do you feel makes photography a particularly special and unique medium?
Although photography has a relatively short history within art history, photographing itself is a very familiar method to viewers. Especially with the popularization of mobile phones it became more easier to take more pictures. It very easy to shoot, but I think it is one of the deepest and effective means of expression as an art form. As a sculptor, I am challenging myself on how to express what I cannot depict by merely taking pictures.
Why is it important that this work is shown at a fair such as PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai?
I’m interested to see how my photographic sculpture will be received by the discerning viewer in a platform specialized for art and photography. I also think that it would be nice if we could increase the variation in photography.
You have exhibited extensively in Japan, but this is your first time exhibiting in China - what impressions do you hope to inspire in those who see this work?
This is a difficult question. I have wanted to visit China for a long time, but this is my first visit. I think our backgrounds are different, so it may create completely different reactions to my work. But I think ultimately the landscape will reflect the viewers themselves. I am very much looking forward to it.