What Does a Distorted Structure Convey?
Senior Curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito
Redepicting history is part of an artist’s practice. They find associates between phenomena from points of view that differ from textbooks and historical books, and reveal them in language and imagery. What makes an artist’s practice differ from an historian’s is the fact that attempts at making associations do not need to be the collection of facts or data, which allows for the absence of an absolute conclusion.
D Structure Atlas, presented by Yusuke Kamata in this exhibition, is a 3D map and collage of associations as well as a maquette representing his thoughts as they have developed through his investigations of energy and architecture. It does not have a front, and its appearance varies depending on the angle of the viewer’s gaze. His research for creating this work began by focusing on the structure of Unit 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Plant, which was destroyed by a hydrogen gas explosion which occurred subsequent to the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
Focusing on atomic power and nuclear energy since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Kamata visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where atomic bombs were dropped in 1945. While visiting those monuments that tell the history of their lands, the artist came across Arata Isozaki’s photo collage ”Re-Ruined Hiroshima”, which was inspired by the history of Hiroshima, an unrealized idea by architect Seiichi Shirai for the ”Atomic Bomb Catastrophe Temple”(Genbaku-do),designed to display the “Hiroshima Panels” (Genbaku no Zu) by painter Mr. Iri and Mrs.Toshi Maruki. He also encountered the presence of Hiroshima’ s ground zero,which is easily overlooked in the shadow of the Atomic Bomb Dome(Genbaku Dome).
In the process of his research tracing the history of energy, the artist also noticed a steel tower at an oil well in Niigata that resembles a pylon. This oil well used to belong to a forerunner of the major oil company that Kamata’ s father works for, and is a result of the Japanese modernization that took place during the Sino-japanese and Russo-japanese wars. Also in Kamata’ s daily space are the twisted remains left behind by the Great East Japan Eathquake.
War and energy, the steel tower, the war monuments visited by tourists, the houses destroyed by atomic bombs and earthquakes, and an architectural plan never realized because it faces up to the tragedies of history and war – Kamata has connected these symbols and created a structure “to contemplate the present,” as he claims, and presents it in this exhibition.
As excepted, this structure appears to surround Unit 4 as a complex rhizomatous network possessing interconnectivity and plurality.
I think it is interestiong that, even though Kamata’ s work is based on the serious research mentioned above, it mysteriously has a stoic sensuality . This impression may come from the fact that distortion is hidden in his work. Although it is composed with straight lines that have neither decoration nor theatrical effects, iti certainly involves Baroque elements. it is irregular and unclear, but connotes movement and makes me expect the work will
grow even further.
No, I do not expect the work to grow , it will. Invoking space from Fukushima to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Niigata, and time from the 1890s to 2011, this glamourous structure will evolve as Kamata’ s research continues in the future, fascinating us as it conveys the history of destruction and creation by mankind. Just as the pylon has been transmitting energy to people.