Report : Special bus tour with Tatsuo Kawaguchi in Echigo-Tsumari Art Field

  • 【レポート】河口龍夫作品を巡るアートツアーin越後妻有

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Report : Special bus tour with Tatsuo Kawaguchi in Echigo-Tsumari Art Field


Art tour was held at the end of last July to visit the artworks of Tatsuo Kawaguchi installed in the area of Echigo-Tsumari. First venue was the current solo show "Tatsuo Kawaguchi: Time Compass" at Echigo-Tsumari Kiyotsu Soko Museum of Art (soko) where the artist had talk session followed by the exploring tour.

Participants of the tour including the artist himself discussed the charm of these works, which we hope, will be a starting for the autumn session the exhibition from October.

"Waterborne Canes of the Heart" 2012

There are two pieces of Kawaguchi at the train station Echigo-Tazawa designed by Atelier One. These works are open to public during autumn session.

Kawaguchi: In the room are installed a tank of water and sticks dancing in the space. These sticks used to belong to the local people and it interested me most, but it was not easy to collect these sticks since they were to be buried in the coffin for the dead so that he can walk in the heaven as well. Some people had extra sticks and they were willing to offer them for a piece of my installation. I installed these sticks together with the ones on the wall that I had made myself to compensate the original sticks. The sticks hanging above the water face created an image that they were flying toward the heaven sky. In the rainy day, some rain drops going down to the water face, which is not the case in such clear day as today. Moreover, there is one stick of my own at the entrance and I will pick it up later in my life.

Atelier Bow-Wow + Tokyo Institute of Technology Tsukamoto Lab. "Boat Shed" 2012

"Voyage for the Future" 2012

In the other room near the entrance, there is a boat painted in yellow called Voyage of Time.
Kawaguchi: This work was commissioned at first by Nizayama Forest Art Museum in Toyama. The curator was so enthusiastic that I accepted with very limited budget for the exhibition. I asked him to find a Japanese style boat, and the curator immediately found a boat. We visited the warehouse of the owner, who was to quit his work and boat since his son did not take them over. We appreciated the abandoned boat, on which I put numerous lotus in metal: my idea is to float the boat in the sky using energy of seeds of lotus, as the work was hanged from the ceiling.

"Tatsuo Kawaguchi : Voyage of Time"
Installation view at Nizayama Forest Art Museum, photo by Sadamu Saito

The same work was exhibited in the exhibition "Kawaguchi Tatsuo: Language, Time, Life" at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, in the next year of 2009. Unlike in previous hanging installation, the curator proposed to install it on the floor. Organizer of this exhibit, participated in our tour to reveal the installation plans other than hanging.

Audience: Just ten years ago, I curated the exhibition of Kawaguchi sensei. The large boat was then installed in our museum space. A year before, I had witnessed the hanging boat at the Nizayama Forest Art Museum, which was a cool installation. However, our gallery ceiling was not strong enough to support the boat, and I proposed another plan on the floor. It turned out that the shiny wood floor reflected the yellow boat, with the effect of undulation by numerous lotus copper-wire, which was itself another beautiful scenery.
After the exhibition, I asked Kawaguchi sensei where to return the boat, and he told me to transport it to Echigo-Tsumari. It happened to be a midst of winter in heavy snow, and I had to shovel the snow before reaching the entrance of the warehouse! All that story is a fond memory of myself.

"Kawaguchi Tatsuo: Language, Time, Life"
at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, installation view photo by Sadamu Saito

Audience: I have a question to know if there is any relationship between the boat at Tazawa Station and the boat installed in Soko Museum, Relation-Floating Lotus Boat.

Kawaguchi: That point is what I wanted to comment on! Boat in the station has front side and back side, while boat in the Soko Museum has no back and front, in other words, it can both go back and forth. This work symbolizes our attitude wondering which direction to go.... The boat at Tazawa Station will go straight forward to be blocked. An idea to escape is to float, up and down in vertical direction. So the two different sceneries were produced.

"Relation-Floating Lotus Boat" 2007 at Echigo Tsumari Kiyotsu Soko Museum of Art, installation view 2019

"Relation-Frottage of Time" 1997

Audience: Regarding the title of the exhibition title Time Compass, I am wondering which direction the time is going. When we judge something, we tend to judge on the basis of present time or of the time we had so far, in other words on the basis of our experienced time. We are not sure if our future is ahead of us or not. It is not easy to declare such thing. The word "future" uttered by Kawaguchi san may seem to himself what is indifferent from the future inducing dreams.

Kawaguchi: It is interesting in that when I draw time, the past as well as future seem to be timeless. Our present time will go forward to a timeless world, is it so?
Audience: I totally agree with you. Future may be timeless.

The next spot is Nohbutai, basis of Matsudai in Echigo-Tsumari Triennale in 2000.

"Relation – Land・The Big Dipper"

Audience: When I saw this work for the first time, I was surprised and a little disappointed, but now I understand the meaning of Big Dipper and am persuaded the intention of the artist.

Kawaguchi: Some works are visible on the land while I planned my work under the snow. I am more modest.... However, the work itself is fairly large with more than two meters. I had various plans in mind, but the maintenance was too difficult for some plans. This work includes joist under the land with screws. While cor-ten steel holds well, the screws will be rusted. I wanted to create something admired by the local people. I prefer a work for which the local invites his friends to join him! From that year of creation, I started working on iron frequently. I love the physicality of each material: iron will be rusted, copper conducts heat and so on. I envy some characteristic that materials have that I do not have myself.

Audience: Will this work corrode to fade out in fifty years?

Kawaguchi: It holds through my life (laughing).
I intended to install Relation-Constellation on the ground: the Big Dipper 2008 in Soko Museum since I wanted to relate this work with my first work for the Triennale. The latter is in the nature while the former in a gymnasium: their relation with the land, or with the water. I exhibited thinking of how they will look like as something thrilling in this area in Tsumari.

"Relation- constellation on the ground: the Plough" 2008 at Echigo Tsumari Kiyotsu Soko Museum of Art, installation view 2019

We can see, after the tour, the relationship among the works installed in Kiyotsu Soko Museum and the works scattered in the large area. The work installed in the station house has become used to the surrounding space after years since the installation or the works in the Nohbutai suggestive of abandoned schools in the area, all these works should be expected to develop the motifs and intention of Kawaguchi such as Big Dipper or boats. The tour left behind some thoughts on the participants.

The autumn session is the last chance for viewing works of Kawaguchi in Tsumari. We hope that you will enjoy the works in autumn wind.

Tatsuo Kawaguchi: Time Compass

Autumn Session at Kiyotsu Soko Museum: October 19 (Sat), 20 (Sun), 26 (Sat), 27 (Sun), November 2 (Sat), 3 (Sun), 4 (Mon).