Rei Naito – color beginning
November 25, 2016 – January 21, 2017
Opening: November 24, 2016 | 7–9pm
We are proud to open the third show by Rei Naito at Loock Gallery consisting of six bodies of work: a new set of paintings titled “color beginning”, as well as the sculptural works “Grace”, “untitled”, “Face (the joys were greater)” and “human”. While installations form the core of her artwork, Naito has been expressing herself through a wide variety of media such as paintings, sculptures, photography and poetry. The question „To exist on this earth, is it in itself a blessing?“ has been her career’s theme, and it threads through all of her artworks that are like the beads.
1 color beginning
The paintings “color beginning” are a developed form of the drawings “Namenlos / Licht”, a series that started in 1991 depicting light with red pencil. The awe and gratefulness of “Being Given” (also a title of other works by Naito) lie as a base, because ‘light envelopes us with grace, coming from nowhere, showering upon us unconditionally’ as the artist says. By painting multiple layers of pale acrylic on top of the other, she created a space where the totality could not be grasped. Spectral colors such as red, yellow, blue, and orange are combined on a single plane. Depending on the position of the eyes or the subtle change of illumination, the light appears differently each time you look at it so that a new world arises at each moment.
2 Grace (beads)
This sculpture consists of strung beads on a thread hung vertically from the ceiling in a linear form as a result of gravitational force. Beads since antiquity are practically and etymologically related to prayer (bede or biddan in Old English). Naito considers her artworks owe to the mercy of nature, because she seeks the beauty of the untouched, such as the descending and ascending stack of beads, and the tension of the water’s surface in a filled jar (“untitled”).
3 Grace (marble)
This sculpture is made of marble, in disk form with 78mm diameter. Naito thinks that a 78mm diameter’s circle is the area that a newborn baby would occupy with his/her feet at arrival on earth. She also believes that every individual has to take good care of his/her circular area of 78mm diameter which is the first gift given at birth; that a human’s life is so humble and solitary that such a small, secluded area is sufficient. It is to note that the disk form of this diameter has been developed in different materials in Naito´s artworks.
As with the marble “Grace” the diameter of the jar used in this work signifies the minimum area necessary for a person to exist, and the jar signifies the life arising, taking up space as a mass. The water filled to its maximum capacity is a dedication to nature that gave life and existence to it.
5 Face (the joys were greater)
“Face (the joys were greater)” was created unintentionally more than twenty years ago. One day, when Naito felt upset, she tore the clippings from the wall and crumbled them to be thrown away. Noticing that it was a picture of a person, she decided to put it back. The artist sensed an abrupt conversion of meaning in the woman’s smile. In the new work of this series a small bell, attached faintly visible, accompanies the ‘Face’(the woman).
After the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011 and the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima, driven by an urge ‘to have more people’, Naito began working on “human”. She carved each one of them out of a square timber and painted its eyes. The “human” is ‘an existence that firmly believes that it sees hope’. This is her first figurative sculpture in the shape of a person.
*The above text is written citing and quoting the texts in the monologue Rei Naito | 1985-2015 „blessing“ (millegraph, 2015) and exhibition catalogue „Tout animal est dans le monde comme de l’eau a l’interieur de l’eau“ (The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Kanagawa, 2009).
Rei Naito (*1961, Hiroshima, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. She graduated from the College of Art and Design, Musashino Art University (1985). She gained prominence with One Place on The Earth at the Sagacho Exhibit Space (1991). This work was shown in the Japanese Pavilion at the 47th Venice Biennale (1997).
Her major solo exhibitions took place at Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum (2014), Museum of Modern Art (Kamakura, Kanagawa, 2009), Nizayama Forest Art Museum (2007), Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art (Kyoto, 2005), MMK – Galerie im Karmeliterkloster (Frankfurt am Main, 1997) and at The National Museum of Art (Osaka, 1995). Permanent works are to be seen at Kinza, an Art House Project (Naoshima, "Being given", since 2001) and at Teshima Art Museum ("Matrix", since 2010). Her works have been collected by numerous museums and collections: Deutsche Bank (Germany), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, U.S.A.), Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt/Main, Germany) and Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan).