We know that translating is a bit of a betrayal but it is not just a matter of language. Of course, for us Westerners who grew up with simple things, bread and about twenty letters of the alphabet, interpreting logograms and syllabaries of the Japanese writing system – and all the connected layers of meaning – is always a challenging undertaking. And then, in addition to the textual apparatuses, there is also another grammar that presents unresolved questions: the visual one, of form or non-form, in short, aesthetics, art. And it is on these topics of encounter, because betrayal and misunderstanding are a refined form of relationship, which is centered on “Italia Zokugo”, an exhibition that can be roughly translated as “Italian Gergo”, edited by Gabriele Tosi, in collaboration with the artist Moe Yoshida and with Hikaru Taga by Galleria Taga2. On display at the IIC – Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo from 1 to 30 October 2021, the works of ten Italian artists, to compose the idealized image of a museum collection, therefore representative of a current, of a trend: Fabrizio Bellomo, Lorenza Boisi, Cristian Chironi, Michelangelo Consani, Cleo Fariselli, Stefano Giuri, Fabrizio Perghem, Giulio Saverio Rossi, Davide Mancini Zanchi, Moe Yoshida.
“Italia Zokugo springs from the historical and often unfaithful image with which Italian art is known throughout the world”, explain the curators. «Collecting works and testimonies, the project reveals vernacular, dialectal or caricature transformations of the courtly and academic language of the fine arts. The contemporary use of traditional media is the start of a journey of desecration, aimed at undermining the certainties of the Western artistic heritage. New loves are born. There are thefts, kidnappings, escapes and sabotage ».
Ukiyo, Chotto Matte and Mamonaku, ie respectively “floating world”, “indefinite waiting” and “shortly” or “there is no space for time”, terms that emerged from the interventions of the curators Fuyumi Namioka and Pier Luigi Tazzi on the occasion of the conference “Exhibition languages between Italy and Japan”, are the images, both conceptual and concrete, around which the works, the relationships between the works and the exhibition revolve. The exhibition, in fact, closes the cycle of meetings of the same name organized by the IIC of Tokyo with the Giornata del Contemporaneo 2020.
In the exhibition hall of the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, designed by Gae Aulenti, a floating museum comes to life. Only a few and symbolic elements touch the ground. Many objects are suspended. The exhibition project, conceived together with the artist Moe Yoshida and created by herself with the collaboration of a Japanese carpenter, exploits the natural aesthetics of rawan wood. “The poor elegance that time and craftsmanship confer on the material suggests the placing of Italia Zokugo on a premodern level, where it is the artist’s personal relationship with the medium that brings individual practice into a broad, collective and shared dimension. . The classic forms, animated by slow movements and sudden clashes, show the history of art in a choreography of entropic agitation », the curators continue.
The project documentation is collected in a limited edition, graphically designed by the artist Matteo Coluccia and realized following semi-artisan procedures that see in the “handmade” a level of connection between the Italian and Japanese visual cultures. The publication is distributed free of charge during the exhibition.