Taisuke Koyama, Generated X
G/P Gallery, Ebisu, Tokyo; 6 January – 16 February
In a small room a series of monolithic paper structures stand like sentinels throughout the space. In opposing corners, vertical flatscreen monitors peer across the longest route as if in coded conversation between a crowd of strangers. Navigating your way through the space is like arriving at a party and deftly weaving through the mass of bodies to find you way to the bar, or the one quiet spot on the far side of the room. It’s certainly a vibrant and jostling ambience. While the space is actually silent, the intensity of colour and the dynamic quality of the imagery on the screens trigger a sense of sound, a synaesthetic atmosphere.
The paper structures are glossy photographic prints, apparently monochromatic but in fact quite richly textured on closer inspection. Gradiating colour runs in a loop from the ground, up over an armature and back down to the ground again on the other side. They’re like hypercolour sunsets of foreign planets on long exposure rates. Triangular in shape they hint at pyramidic forms, all towering austerity and authority. Their glossy surfaces catching the light of the room and the reflections of the visitors, affirming their presence in the architecture of their occasion and the staging for their audience. Their dappled tones speak of broadcast static, of a searching need to locate a signal, while their rich depths of colour speak of a fullness of data and wellspring of density.
The works oscillate between photography, printing and sculpture. Holding their place within the gallery, floor-to-ceiling forms that dwarf human size, they sit with a sense of gravity that guides bodily movement through space. You can’t help but swivel sidelong as you pass, dipping a shoulder forward, leading your self through with delicate choreography. You are aware of the ominous presence of these large forms just as you comprehend their fragile weightlessness. For they are symbols of signals, floating with the lightness of paper, draped over thin metal frames. The looping excess of paper tucks under the form and is carefully placed so as to not even touch the floor. This poised balance between heavy, traffic-guiding obstacles and light, representative imagery is a particular strength of the show, even beyond the luscious appeal of the coloured photographic prints themselves.
Flatscreen monitors cycle through colour changes that match the selections locked down in printed loops of paper. One screen cycles quickly, the other slowly. This transitional variance works to amplify notions of temporality evident in the show. To see the changing tone of a looping paper print the viewer must run their eyes upward from the floor to the ceiling, reorient their position on the other side of the monolithic form and run their eyes back down again from ceiling to floor. And even then the excess looped paper, tucked underneath at the bottom, is beyond a full visual consumption. But with the screens, one need only stand and stare straight ahead and have delivered to you, over time, the full sweeping change in colour gradation. At one screen, rapidly; the other, languidly. You can’t help but think of colour embedded in paper through inks versus colour emitted through glass by light. And of rolling film and scrolling time.
In another gallery space, two series of works are presented on the walls, together with a table in the centre of the room containing some excellent publications of the artist’s work. On the walls, one series consists of four works (Light Field) – two green and two black; the other series also of four works (VEESSEL-XYZXY), a collaboration with Kihei Nawa and Damien Jalet. Both series are glitchy, tech-crash studies of manipulation and error. Light Fields appears like grassy distortions, like lightening strikes on holographic lawns that tear the code and ripple the patternation of a natural simulacrum. VEESSEL–XYZXY feels like 3D x-ray scans of Greek sculptures have gone awry. Figurative elements sneak to the striated surface of musculature and body parts, only to be ripped and scanner-dragged with frequency jumps and over-corrections. All the works bring to mind the Darwinian principal of evolutionary mis-step – that progress comes from a fault in the code, a glitch in the system. DNA is a technology designed by life to replicate and extend its capacity to reproduce. Print, portray, repeat, syntax error, colour change, new form, print, portray, repeat. These works echo life’s endless desire to reproduce, to celebrate the beauty in error, and to look beyond the standard outcome to the messy creative processes that drive and steer the energy of action.
Koyama is a gifted artist and his work crackles with the sort of restless energy that bounces from object to object and ignites synaptic firings in those who engage with it. It drives a biological curiosity through technical means and technological concerns through a biological longing.