A Landscape in Which There Seems to Be a River

At first, I see three differently shaped plastic containers—one red, one black, and one turquoise—a transparent hose, and a small bell that moves in a stream of water. But then I see the landscape of small mountains and hills, and the boat on the river winding through them. Suddenly, they regain their original appearance: trash cans, compost, and an industrial hose. And the scene is instantly transformed into a desolate landscape. In the gallery space, isolated from the outside world,surrounded by homogeneous white walls and concrete floors, no sign of natural materials other than water may be far from any concept of landscape usually imagined.
After completing the Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists launched by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in London, Taisuke Makihara holds his first solo exhibition since returning to Japan, featuring an installation as a kind of landscape, with the theme of the gap between human perception and the world that he has been working on up until today. The forest of cymbals of flooring, presented at the Shiseido Gallery in 2008, created a kind of sublime landscape that overwhelmed the viewer with its height and disturbing silence. In contrast, River seems modest towards the exhibition space in terms of scale and quantity, which is exactly why it seeks to confront the viewer so directly.
This river has no source or destination, its width is constant, and its water never flows from the estuary to the ocean. This landscape, where extraordinary / everyday life and artworks / industrial products intersect, is irreversible and misleads us viewers, and our consciousness loses perspective and eventually becomes assimilated with the bell and wanders around the landscape in circles. We struggle to complement and reproduce the work unfolding in front of us as a conceptually natural landscape. However, the actual landscape continues to exist there, always containing miscellaneous elements that cannot be seized by meaning. Makihara’s attempt to compose a landscape strips away the function and site-specificity of the artificial objects that are mixed in with the everyday landscape, and exploiting our conventional way of seeing with ideas rather than with our eyes, it allows us to experience the substance of “landscape” at a physical level beyond the will of human beings.

Ryosuke Kondo (art critic)
Bijutsu Techo (March 2013)’