CONVERSATIONS

VOL.1 Rei Naito (Artist) × Kasumi Yamaki (Curator, TTM)

text:Chie Sumiyoshi photo:Masashi Asada

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Rei Naito: the emotion of belief is the first exhibition planned for the renovated museum. Since coming to international attention with One Place on the Earth, created for the Japanese Pavilion at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997, Rei Naito, one of Japan’s leading artists, has shown many works that delight and profoundly, quietly surprise those who experience them. Curator Yamaki Kasumi talks with Rei Naito, who is now planning an exhibition for the main museum building as well as showing a collection of her new paintings for the annex.

Yamaki (Y):We asked you to do the opening exhibition because we thought your work would add something of the air of a ground-breaking ceremony. What were your impressions when you first visited the main building, with its multilayered past, and the new annex, where time and stories have yet to overlap?

Naito(N): The annex is a newborn white cube built for exhibitions; the main building is a unique home with distinctive memories. When I first saw the site, I thought that it would be a good location. It is a place where the true nature of the place, the objects, and their world is obscured. So, with all due respect, I hope that it will take only a little effort for its true nature to manifest itself  a little and come to life. On the other hand, I have never before had any connection with a place as gorgeously decorated as the main building. Since it is, however, a place where people have lived in the past, I thought about the people who spent their lives here.

Y :The title of the exhibition, the emotion of belief, gives the impression of an unshakeable resolve not found in earlier statements you have made. “Belief” is a dynamic word that is connected to behavior. Visitors will experience thinking about it themselves in this tranquil setting. How did this title come about?

N :Through a process of interrogating myself and gradually becoming more certain, I came to feel that those were the right words. In some cases “to see“ is also “to recognize,“ but I think it is also the question of perceiving that things are what they are. If I reach out through “seeing“ and someone else also reaches out through “seeing” simultaneously, then we both feel that “we have been seen.” The distinction between the self and the other fades away, to be replaced by a strong sense of affirmation. In the same way, I felt that both I and the world facing me were waiting to reach out with love. When I come to feel that the quiet and uncertain things that appear before me, as if bubbling up from somewhere else, are probably meant for me, gifts I have received, would I still want something else? What turns up is always from somewhere else. I am always on the receiving end; all I can do is express my gratitude. So, time and time again, I communicate what I see and what I receive. It all comes from somewhere: the light, the colors, the shapes, the gaze, the flowers, the glittering trees, the birdsong, these emotions, and life itself. The emotion of belief suddenly came to mind while I was spending some time alone at the Teien Art Museum.

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  • 内藤礼“このことを”2001年 家プロジェクト・きんざ 写真:小熊栄

    Rei Naito"Being given"
    2001
    Art House Project "Kinza"
    Photo: Sakae Oguma

  • 内藤礼“このことを”2001年 家プロジェクト・きんざ 写真:森川昇

    Rei Naito"Being given"
    2001
    Art House Project "Kinza"
    Photo: Noboru Morikawa

  • 内藤礼“母型”2010年 豊島美術館 写真:森川昇

    Rei Naito: Matrix
    2010
    Teshima Art Museum
    Architect: Ryue Nishizawa
    Photo: Noboru Morikawa