Japan : Yoshihiro Suda


Suda's work has always appeared to be very difficult to capture within the existing framework of art history. His works remain impossible to classify, leap beyond existing systems, hierarchies or categories to summon in the next age. Systems are born, established, then destroyed to make way for new systems, and art museums, galleries, even art itself are all part of a system and as such, prone to change.

At the heart of Suda's work there is generally an extremely accurate, life-size wooden sculpture of a plant, created with such surpassing skill as to make it indistinguishable from the real thing. These everyday flowers or overlooked weeds are placed in bold, yet delicate installations that lure us in, and focussing on the plant we are able to discover slight traces of the hand of their creator. The moment we realize that they are such delicate creations that the slightest touch would cause them to scatter to the ground, we instinctively hold our breath. We experience the powerful beauty of destruction while, simultaneously, as we enter into the aesthetic, yet definitely not natural space that Suda has produced, we are seized by a feeling of unease and confusion as it appears that everything around us is a fabrication. All our senses struggle to validate and confirm the place in which we are standing. The works of Yoshihiro Suda invite the viewer into this state and try to begin a new dialogue with them. The space he creates always welcomes the gaze of the outsider; in fact, it is through this premise that they take on their existence.

In the past, Yoshihiro Suda used the word "Ma" in the title of his exhibitions. ("Ma and Rose," Galerie Wohn Maschine, Berlin, 1997; "Ma,", Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo, 1997 and 1999.) The word "Ma" is a concept unique to Japanese culture stemming from an age when people did not differentiate between time and space, and indicates the mutual relationship between the two. It can be said that he wants to create a world of expression where the moment of resonance between the "Ma" and the image of the work are trapped forever in the memory of the viewer. In addition, the artist has a strong interest in Buddhist images, within temples as well as in traditional Japanese culture, and it is interesting to see the way that these aesthetics find their way into the unique techniques he uses in his work.


From Kazuko Aono, trans. Gavin Frew, The Tree of Calm Mountain - Works by Yoshihiro Suda, Tokyo, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 1999.




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