Short text at the occasion of the opening of the exhibition by NAHO KAWABE
on 23. 09. 2004,
speech text: Sigrid Puntigam
I am pleased to welcome you to the exhibition Dem Anschein nach (it seems like it) by the Japanese artist Naho Kawabe, within the procect of the four-rythm- motor project. NAHO KAWABE contributes the context of a foreign culture, a further artistic medium - the art of video - and also a so far not yet dealt with aspect to the subject of the year, the four-rythm motor. On the invitation card we seemingly - as with a sattelite picture - are looking from space through cloud fracments of the atmosphere onto the earth's surface, where like after an atomic explosion or another destroying force the last pieces fall to bits. Seemingly - but is it truly like that or are we deceived? The artist wants to confront the watcher with the deceptive manipulated pictures of the reality of the media in which the artifical seems as truthand authenticity and fiction mingle. Virtuell worlds have long been part of our daily life and ARE daily life for most people, we are flooded by pictures.
Hence it is not astonishing that a young female artist chooses a video camera as an artistic tool, paints with it like with a brush and finds her congenial means of expression in video film. Especially if she is from Japan, the country which like no other lives in the tension between tradition and modernity and in which Sony 1965 eventually started off the unstoppable path of triumph with the introduction of the portabel video camera (portapak). Naho Kawabe introduces three works in this exhibition. The first has the title ..Ame no hi ha / an einem Regentag - ("Ame no hi ha / on a rainy day", video installation, 2004, color, 28 Min, without sound).
In one room there are 3 monitors set up. They each show the same film, but variying in speed, in enlarge- ment and in angle of view. We see a fascinating poetical play with three elements - oil, water and air.
Water drops fall into an aquarium filled with oil and equipped with plants and sand, which because of their physical characteristics and nature separate themselves as silver shimmery heavy balls and sink to the ground. By their slowed movement in the viscous and muddy liquid a contemplative mood develops.
The balls collect secretly like a treasure on the ground. Now and then light air bubbles flash like small high- lights. With increasing count of balls on the ground the scenery changes. The balls melt into a homogenous water mass and push the oil upwards. The bright, clear and light water world has taken the place of the vicous muddy elements. The water raises, but does not become a threat, but rather an artificial plant world blooms in the light flooded water. In the play of the elements now joining small air bubbles enhance the process. The element of air is made visible and draws the attention. An unseparable relationship to the behol- der is established. poetical inner pictures develope, pictures disappear, a steady flow, a process, nothing is lasting, a time compostion is virtually put in front of the eyes.
The second work is titled Harmonica (Harmonica, video film, color, 3 min. with sound effect). Under water we see the face of the artist. She is trying to play a mouth-organ. Different, far, metallic, bubble noises are to be heard. Air bubbles come up. Seemingly a paradoxical situation, because under water one cannot breath, not to speak of make music. But just the impossible, breathing in and out becomes visible and hearable as sucking in and exhaustion. Something impossible is presented as possible and made visible. An electronical self portrait of an artist and at the same time a classical motiv of vanitas are evoked. On one hand the water seems like a parting sheet in front of this picture on the other hand