Japanese / English

Past Exhibition

Raum – one work

Isamu Wakabayashi


2022.7.4 - 7.29

Daisy 1-A
iron, red-ocher rouge
154.0 × 66.0 × 66.0 ㎝

 It was about twenty years ago; at that time I tried to reconsider my visual perception. The circumstances to occasion this were numerous: in my environment sudden changes had taken place and one of the reasons was that unpleasant restrictions connected with these changes were becoming apparent.
 I stand on the earth, eyes directed forward and see what there is. This is my basic attitude.
 I may have changed it - the direction - continuously, but it has never been an all-surrounding one.
 If I make a journey, for instance, I submit myself to considerable limitations; the goal towards which I direct my eyes is even smaller, but on the other hand, the attitude from which I see things is all the clearer. While such experiences repeat themselves I get the impression that my former field of vision has gained somewhat in depth.
 When making a sculpture, my aim always was to work within visual perception. And as to the tactile which must be subordinated to the visual, I tried to think of the sensations occurring from an accidental contact as a conceptual element enclosed in the view of the things.
 One also may imagine that the place of the sculpture is limited in its position, almost as if restricted to an existence reduced in its possibilities. For instance, I imagine a dog in the distance looking at me, and that the line connecting us contains the work of art.
 Later there is not just a line, but rather the line itself develops into a space extending upwards, downwards, to the left and to the right. And, as a rule, visual perception takes priority.
 Before I reached that point, I had always believed that I might encompass all the objects surrounding me in one single look. But that proved to be impossible. I recognised that at first it is difficult to look at things concentratedly for a long time, that in everyday life the habit of selecting always starts to work. And it is, moreover, mostly objects of tactile perception that appear within the field of vision; yet they only appear indistinctly and therefore seem to be obstacles.
 As regards these indistinct objects of sensual perception that cannot escape notice when one looks at the surroundings, there was no need to take the trouble of trying to remove them; but as soon as I tried to understand my environment as a whole, or rather tried to accept it as a sensual quality, I recognised that it was impossible to understand it perceptionally along these lines and then admit it into the sculpture by some method or other.
 With my eyes I see the outside of things, yet the eyeballs touch these outer surfaces via the gaseous body of the air. In the end everything exterior has become a single 'something', and this one 'something' touches my eyes as well as the surface of my body.
 In my works I have tried to stress the visual and to subordinate the tactile experience. By limiting my attitude to the elementary and by adapting my line of view and the position of the sculpture to each other, I thought to change the indistinct things experienced by the tactile sense. It is not that I make them disappear, I rather articulate them quite openly as what they are.
 I am conscious that my way of looking at things makes them gain depth gradually. From this an inherent depth of the indistinct objects develops. At the same time it is also true that one object appears to be clearly differentiated from an other object.
 I know that it is nothing unusual when I say that faraway objects appear highly visible to me. But as the line of view extends, it is enlarged by manifold elements and structures. I think I may hope for a visual perception that includes the imaginative.
 At present that is where I focus my interest. The situation of the place the longest way off becomes the subject of imagination. I try to think about what may be there and about the process by which my looking arrives there.
 The sculpture resulting from this I am going to call Hinagiku - Daisy.

Isamu Wakabayashi

From Isamu Wakabayashi, I.W.: Notes written by Isamu Wakabayashi (Tokyo: Shoshi Yamada, 2004).
The German and English translation of the text originally appeared in the exhibition catalogue, Isamu Wakabayashi (Manheim and Aachen, Germany: Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, 1997).