I had already mentioned this artwork when it opened, but I’m going to add a few more lines about it as I did get to see it last June. I’m talking about Pipilotti Rist‘s Your First Colour (Solution in my Head, Solution in my Stomach), the latest work for Art Setouchi which also happens to be the first (and so far only, unless I missed something) piece of art to open after the end of the Setouchi International Art Festival 2010.
So, what is it about ?
How can I say?
I think I have already talked about it here but I have a problem with some of the artists involved in the Setouchi International Art Festival, and this problem seemed to mostly be involving European artists. I’m talking about the fact that some of the artists seemed to be using the Festival as a tool for self-promotion in Japan more than anything else. I understand that artists too need to have something to gain from it; this is not my problem here. But, while some artworks (usually the best ones, not a coincidence in my opinion) really took into account the local cultures, settings, peculiarities and specifics of the island where they were located, of the Seto Inland Sea, or they simply fit perfectly where they were; some others really seemed out of place. The latter didn’t seem to “belong” to their location. They felt like they had been more or less randomly put there.
I don’t know what happened beforehand in the organization of the Festival, nor under what conditions each piece of art was created, and how each artist was involved, but while some artworks were designed and made within the frame of their island, the Festival, the local cultures, some others had obviously been designed regardless of all of that. The artist just did what they felt like doing at the moment, when they didn’t simply recycle an old piece of theirs, which I thought was quite disrespectful, but maybe that’s just me (hello Olafur Eliasson).
Sadly, I’m under the impression that this is what happened here. I fail to see how Your First Colour (Solution in my Head, Solution in my Stomach) connects to its location, or anything else in the Setouchi area. It clearly feels like something that comes from the artist’s own world without much connection to anything else.
In other terms, while Your First Colour definitely has a certain aesthetics to it and is not devoid of interest, I wonder what it is doing in the heart of Karato and on Teshima.
At this stage of the post, I’m sure you’re wondering what the piece of art is, right?
Well, it is some sort of film.
When you enter the small building, you end up in a dark room with a small window and a big round screen above your head as sole sources of light.
On that screen, there’s a more or less abstract and – I suppose – highly conceptual film. Now words, just a strange music. The whole thing is shot with “fish eye” lenses and in close-ups. One can guess a woman, plants, a few insects, but it’s pretty hard to make sense out of it.
The piece is not that bad, it does have an artistic interest. However, you don’t get out of the room with the impression that you had a great experience or that you gained some insight on anything. And in the end, the feeling that prevails tend to be that those ¥300 would have been better used in a coffee at Shima Kitchen right next door, or in Storm House a little bit further.
All in all, I don’t advise against it at all, and you should give it a try when you’re on Teshima, but know that if you’re not a fan of European contemporary art (i.e. heavily conceptual stuff), you may be disappointed.
Here are a few pictures to help you get an idea of the thing: