Ei Arakawa “Liaison, a Naïve Pacifist” / SAM LEWITT From A to Z and Back

Dates: May 8 – Jun 13, 2009
Opening reception: Friday, May 8, 18:00 – 20:00

Taka Ishii Gallery, Kyoto, is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Ei Arakawa and the debut solo exhibition in Japan of Sam Lewitt. Below is an abbreviated biography for each artist and on the following pages an artist statement prepared for each exhibition.

Ei Arakawa (Japan 1977) lives and works in New York. His work has been presented at The Power Plant, Toronto, 2008, Yokohama Triennial 2008; New Museum, New York, 2008: MUMOK, Vienna, 2008; Performa07, New York, 2007; Reena Spaulings, New York, 2007; Royal College of Art, London, 2007; The Judson Church “About Town E New York, 2006; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, 2006; Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Nigata, 2006; Arakawa participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program, New York, from 2005 – 2006.

Sam Lewitt (USA 1981) lives and works in New York. His work has been presented at the Swiss Institute, New York, 2008, Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York, 2008, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, 2007, Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne, 2007; Lewitt received his BFA from the School of the Visual Arts, New York in 2004 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art, Independent Study Program, New York, in 2005.

From A to Z and Back

From A to Z and Back is an ongoing work that was set in motion with the disbursement of a cache. During the month of January 2009, fifty examples of a coin, specially designed and minted for the occasion, were given away to various friends and colleagues, people to whom I have social and professional bonds. The coin itself, according to the American manufacturer’s catalog of patinas, was stamped in “antique silver E(actually a cheap zinc alloy). Each of its two sides bears a graphic “A Eand “Z, Eimprinted in the respective positions of “heads and tails. ERounded out into the contours of a token placed silently into the hands of associates, this coin thickens an economy of largely linguistic exchange, given to others as unsolicited largesse.

The work on display at Taka Ishii gallery this May commemorates this expense with a set of posters and coin “catalogues Ethat publicly circumscribe the image of this token. Making this work involved the calculation of a controlled proliferation of entitlements and qualifications. Written in the language of whatever geographical locale is provided by exhibition opportunity during 09, the texts on the posters in this exhibition slip between idioms with a gracelessness inimical to poor translation. I hope that certain stutters in the efficacy of communication call to mind constellations of reference that elude, yet are facilitated by, the ostensibly denotative function of these slogans.

The prospect of carrying out From A to Z and Back within a Japanese context raises all sorts of interesting complications. As the Roman script on the coin suggests, all of my work has so far taken place in a European / American linguistic and graphic framework. Insofar as the word “back Ein this work’s title signifies something like an elliptical retrenchment of languages based on the Roman alphabet  Eas if to close them shut  Ethe characters of Japanese script would seem to provide at least an immediate outside to that circuit by which the letters on this coin are estranged from their domain of reference. I am, however, reminded that this outside may be little more than the shine on a coin. For questions of the meaning lodged in script begin to resemble those concerning the value attributed money when language bears the stamp of abstract equivalence.

Ei Arakawa “Liaison, a Naïve Pacifist E/p>

I went on a cruise around the world in 1996. I recall that I was a naïve pacifist.

For this show, I will do several performances with the friends and acquaintances I met on that cruise. We will reenact my past performances for two or three days before the opening (my performance is usually involved with a group of people). These will be private performances, but there will be editions of posters for these events. Most of these friends have never seen my work. These will not be perfect reenactments. We will use the gallery’s stairs, storage, and lift as stages. Someone will photograph these reenactments, and I will print them out on large sheets of paper, black and white. These photocopies might be used to cover up the floor. In the video gallery, I will project a video of elements from these reenactments, such as the various structures which result.

I was rallying outside when the Japanese embassy in Peru was being occupied by MRTA (Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement).

At first, this show will appear as a retrospective, then as all new work. These work completed in two or three days are affected by the accumulation of several years.

I am a liaison.
(NOTE: not between MRTA and outside)

I wonder if I can borrow Silke’s paintings? Instead of a big performance at the opening, I could do an announcement performance with Sam for 10 min or so. We may need a copy machine. This series of reenactments is almost a world circumscribed.

Liaison, a Naïve Pacifist (Or, perhaps a cruise).

All Past Performances, Any Performance: Eurovision2006 as Reconstruction Mood: The stair, Togawa Fan Club: moving boxes, Metropolis: paper panel, Two Grahams: fences, Kissing the Canvas: tapes and coatrack, On Kawara’s Esperanto: fake paintings, Riot 8 Bars: moving bar, Toward a Standard Risk Architecture: a structure in front of the store, Non-solo show, Non-group show: metal basket, BYOF: painting structure, TCCA magazine: magazines, The Club in the Shadow performance, Mid-Yuming as Reconstruction Mood, The Poetry Project performance, Patti’s New Mantra, Grand Openings, performance for The Metal Magazine, 1979 Pink Floyd as Reconstruction Mood, RIOT THE BAR, Azimi Book, “ghost/fantasma E Egypted, Friendships, Outsides, homelessness, YUMING CITIES, The Color Ball, Ouroboros, LTTR street performance, Performance at the Web …