Outside the Museum courtyard
is a high picket fence. Peer over it and you will spy a large fallen angel.
Made by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Russian artists, the work has a tragically
absurd narrative. The angle seems to have flown into the building and
knocked himself down. A warning that breaking free has its dangers.
An exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art seeks to highlight
artists who both follow tradition; Continuity and break free; Transgression.
To unravel these divergent threads 10 artists were selected -- six international
artists and four from Japan.
The journey through this exhibiton is a safari into contemporary art.
Here, the unexpected seems to lurk. Around any bend may be an enormous
fiberglass baby or one hundred faces watching. At another junction dangerous
bits of industrial experiments seem ready to crush or electricute the
The enormous fiberglass baby is the work of British based Australian artist,
Ron Mueck. He has specialized in sculptures featuring hyper realistic
distortions of humanity. They are eerily scary mutants and we struggle
to locate the differences between them and us.
Also haunting are the large wallpaper works of Julian Opie, 'Holiday in
Bali 2002'. This work consists of large comic styled images of people
and landscapes matched with natural sounds from the tropical island. They
have a powerful resonance in the after shock of the recent terrorist blast.
Perhaps even more frightening are the heavy-duty installations by Toshikatsu
Endo. Using huge sheets of heavy plate steel he puts the viewer inside
what looks like some half finished experiment using electrical equipment.
Connected to live wires the piece seems scarily exposed. It is brutal
work dealing in elemental forces.
Roni Horn is represented with a work displaying over 100 photographic
images of the face of a woman in a hot spring bath. On close scrutiny,
searching for differences of expression, you look beyond the face and
Performance artist, Tadasu Takamine, has used a huge block of clay to
create an animated head. The lump of clay constantly sings 'God bless
America'. Around the head, in a red studio room, caught in the animated
picture are frames of the artist and his female assistant eating, drinking,
sleeping and making love. It is the obsessive dedication to their work
that makes this such a wonderful piece.
In another video work, Candice Breitz sets up pairs of monitors facing
each other in a room. On each are a musical star from a video clip. Each
shit song is edited down to just a few words. On one monitor the female
pop star sings all the phrases which are in the first person pronoun 'I'.
On the facing screen she sings those parts in the second person 'you'
-- all from the same song. Annie, Karen, Olivier and Whitney endlessly
singing 'I' to their double 'you'.
The work in this exhibition is varied and powerful. Other artists included
are Jun Aoki, Tadasu Takamine and Roland Flexner. The journey with these
artists takes you to the outer boundaries of creative expression. The
territory you explore is new, exciting and dangerous.