12 TATAMI

 

Graphic installation


 

It is an artistic installation consisting of two separate objects; a standard European chair and a low Japanese table which were present- ed in a Gallery space. These objects, painted white perfectly blend in the space of a classic white cube which highlights their functions but not their forms. The chair and the table became fleeting, ephemeral and seemingly non-existing. The core issue of this project is their mutual incompatibility as the chair is too high and the table too low. Additionally, the chair itself does not fit the space in which it was positioned as its seatback got stuck in a slanted surface of the ceiling. Such lack of functionality and mismatching becomes the main topic of the reflection contained here.

 

The work was a part of a project  '12 Tatami' exhibitions.

Agnieszka Mori has been influenced by the Japanese culture since the early youth She takes advantage of Post Office Gallery premises. Her work constitutes a kind of haiku wriiten by the play of the space and the inscribed - literally - objects. Similarly to haiku, it is an attempt to capture what is

scattered, symbolic and, at the same time, focuses on some specific emotion or, in other words, impression. This impression becomes the most significant element of the language used by the artist. Objects well-known from the Western world are merged into the minimized space losing, simultaneously, their original meanings. The incription into a new context adds an entirely different dimensions to them.

The human/subject who enters the object's space is naturally forced to bow to the given reality. He or she becomes similar to the monks who greet the rising sun in a gesture of respect and humility. However, is that imposed bow a comfortable position for a man of the West? For the Japanese, a bow, despite its codified form is devoid of any humility or vanity, as Roland Barthes says ' actually no one bows to anybody, it is an act of communication between the two Empires. Maybe then, it is the space that bows down to those who fall into it and encourages to the reciprocate this gesture?

The next Gallery Post-Office room delineates itself as if it was a painting in the doorframe. The viewer, enhanced to cross the boundaries of the painting, enters the tatami space occupied by Krzysztof Balcerowiak.
The space based on economy of expression, simplicity and austerity. This does not, however, mean that the expression is one-dimensional. According to the principles of Japanese aesthetics, it is the minimalist means of expression that constitute a strong yugen effect - a suggestion open to multiple readings. Moreover, the artist's primary medium is a sign detached from its meaning. Japanese hiragana characters accidentally put in the place of western characters open up a wide field of readings. However, is the viewer capable to decipher the meanings encrypted and multiplied in the Japanese syllabic writing? Or will they remain a mere form for him? For all those who find the trace of the Other and the unknown, unintelligible language, the fact that the emptiness of form or emptiness of the word 'mu' carries in itself an important meaning for the Japanese, may turn out to be comforting .

 

Ewa Janicka 

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© 2020 by A. Mori.