September 17 - October 16, 2022
Koichi Matsufuji / Solo Exhibition
Gallery O2, Kanazawa, Japan
松藤孝一 個展
ギャラリーO2 (金沢)

Human Time, Nature's Time: Under the Aspect of Anthropocene
Hiroki Yamamoto (Cultural studies scholar, artist, lecturer at Kanazawa College of Art)

It is well known that clocks in the past were not as elaborate as they are today. There are probably technical reasons concerned, but above all, this fact means that people did not live as standardized a time as they do today. Philosopher Emmanuel Kant bought a home after his 60th birthday, or kanreki in Japanese, and “decided to practice a strictly regular life to conquer aging.”*1 Part of this was the habit of taking a walk every day without fail and on time. This is how the famous anecdote about the people of Königsberg, where he was living, adjusting their clocks each time they met Kant on his walks was born, and this episode also shows the low level of trust people had in the time indicated by clocks.

In the space of Koichi Matsufuji's solo exhibition “Journeying in the Sky,” a variety of human and natural time flows. Matsufuji, who was born in Nagasaki in 1973 and has lived and studied in different cultures and environments in Japan and the U.S., has been working across multiple media and formats, including painting, drawing, photography, and installation, while using glass as his primary material. His works, inspired by important social and political topics such as the environmental crisis, nuclear weapons, and the novel coronavirus, and containing a keen critical awareness, which is not often seen in the work of other craft artists, constitute a distinctive uniqueness that characterizes Matsufuji's practice. This socio-political sensitivity as an artist may stem from his own background as a third-generation A-bomb survivor.

It seems appropriate to consider this exhibition as a continuation of Matsufuji's recent solo exhibition “The sky is always there” held at Art House Oyabe (Toyama Prefecture) in 2021, which featured works based on the contemplations he spun in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. In the text included in the exhibition catalogue, Matsufuji writes that the pandemic of the novel coronavirus triggered him to look at the simple fact that “we are born from the Earth and live in nature.”*2 Since the modern era, generally speaking, humans have sought to separate themselves from nature, but as this sentence suggests, he is once again looking at a world in which humans and nature are inseparably intermingled, coexisting in fusion and sometimes in tension.

The installation piece The Sky of Light and Shadows, which functions as a role of the introduction to this exhibition, uses stained glass to express the sky, light, or shadows that are inextricably linked to light, while incorporating objects that remind one of Shinto altars. Other works on display include a photographic piece Journeying in the Sky depicting the world as seen from the perspective of the Chestnut Tiger, a sort of migratory butterfly, shown through the surface of a blown glass piece with bubbles mixed in. There is another blown glass piece The wind plays the waves placed on concrete blocks where you hear the sound of waves when you put your ear close to it. The exhibition space is filled with a variety of materials and elements that are related to both humans and nature and is designed to foreground the blurring of the boundary line that separates humans and nature. In this way, the exhibition is interspersed with a wide range of materials and elements that belong to humans and nature, and, for the viewers, the blurring of the boundary that separates humans and nature is intended to foreground.

There is a word “Anthropocene.” It is a geological term to suggest a status-quo of the world in which “human activity has affected the earth at a geological level.”*3 In the age of the Anthropocene, the naive dichotomies such as “human and nature” or “human (artificial) / culture and nature” become less valid frameworks. Rather than their separation, it is their entanglement, amalgamation, or overlap that is the key elements. These elements are precisely what Matsufuji has been pursuing through his artistic activities in recent years.

Although the concept of “time” is a purely human construct, the flow of time is by its very nature experienced in totally different ways by species and by individuals. Matsufuji's works, which is displayed in this exhibition “Journeying in the Sky,” remind us of this fact. In an age where artifice (culture) and nature are intertwined and the boundary between the two is blurring, the thought of the Anthropocene begins with the recognition of such “natural” fact.

*1.Nakajima Yoshimichi, Kant in his later years, Kodansha, 2021, p.21.
*2.Matsufuji Koichi, The sky is always there, Art House Oyabe, 2021, p.5.
*3.Yoshikawa Hiromitsu, Human Dissection is the Key to Monkey Dissection, Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2018, p.167.


昔の時計が今ほど精巧なものでなかったことはよく知られている。そこには技術的な理由も関わっているだろうが、その事実は何よりも人々が現在ほど画一化された時間を生きていなかったことを意味する。哲学者のエマニュエル・カントは還暦後に自宅を購入し、「老齢に打ち勝つために厳格な規則的生活を実践することにした」。*1 毎日欠かさず定刻通りになされた散歩の習慣も、その一部であった。こうして散歩中のカントに会った、彼が暮らしていたケーニヒスベルクの人々はその度に時計を調整したという有名な逸話が生まれたわけだが、このエピソードにも時計が示す時間に対する人々の信頼度の低さが如実に現れている。


本展は、コロナ禍のなかで紡がれた思索をベースにした作品が出展された、2021年にアートハウスおやべ(富山)で開催された松藤の個展「そらのある世界」と地続きになっていると考えるのが適切であると思われる。その記録集に収録された文章のなかで、松藤は、新型コロナウイルスのパンデミックをきっかけとして、「僕らは地球から生まれ、自然の中に暮らしている」という素朴な事実に目を向けるようになったと書いている。*2 近代以降、一般的に人間は自らを自然から切り離しそうと努めてきたが、この一文からもわかるように、彼は改めて人間と自然が不可分に混ざり合い、融合やときには反発しながら共存している世界を見据えている。


「人新世」という言葉がある。これは地質学の用語で、「人間の活動が地球に地質学的なレヴェルの影響を与えている」世界の状態を示唆するために使われる。*3 人新世という時代では、「人間と自然」あるいは「人為(人工)・文化と自然」といった素朴な二項対立があまり有効な枠組みではなくなる。すなわち、それらの分離というよりは、絡み合いや融合、あるいは重なり合いこそが重要な要素となる。これらの要素は、まさに近年、松藤が自身の芸術活動を通して追い求めてきたものであると言える。



" Journeying in the Sky "
Photo acrylic mount
φ1000 mm
φ1000 mm
φ364 mm
Shooting location: Asahi Town, Toyama Prefecture

" The wind plays the waves "
Blown glass, concreate block, speaker, amplifier and device
Dimensions variable
Recording location: Asahi Town, Toyama Prefecture



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