村田峰紀の体操 O JUN
On Murata Mineki’s “Gymnastics” O JUN
Murata Mineki excessively uses his body. Specifically, he employs the body for sculptural production, the body for depiction, the body to utter a poem, the body that hums, the body for labor, the body to think, the body to stand still, and the body to laugh. Thus, Murata’s body is quite busy. Or rather, we could say that all human bodies are essentially busy. Our bodies have thoughts and intentions, but are also dynamic, static, unrestricted and restricted. All of us carry our own unceasingly busy and burdened bodies, which at times we move slowly, and other times, at a lightning speed. And our enemy that forces us to lead such a harsh daily life is indeed gravity. On the opening day of his solo exhibition, Murata placed a plywood board on the second floor of the gallery. The floor below the board had been cut out into a square hole. This hole was created before the building was used as a gallery; thus, it was likely cut out for the convenience of loading and unloading goods. On that board, Murata held a pen as if he were a child who could not properly use chopsticks. He then began to continuously overlay lines with a broad sweep of his arm that went back and forth in all directions. The heavy pressure he applied on the pen soon broke its tip. Hence, he kept changing to a new pen, and continued on with his depiction. At some point in the performance, a sound that began to be heard only slightly gradually grew louder. It came from Murata’s mouth. It sounded like the chanting of a sutra, or like chirping cicadas; or rather, if I may borrow from recent technologies, the sound was closer to that of a flying drone. His drawing was driven by the smooth merging of his hand movements and humming. Murata devotedly drew and overlaid lines, which in time came to manifest countless, bright openings created within the layers and gaps of the lines. But those openings were immediately smashed by new lines. In the end, the plywood developed countless splinters with tiny holes over the entire grayish blue-black color-field. The central parts of those splinters appeared as if they were pierced by force. Thus, those holes created openings to the floor below. This state was manifested as a result of Murata’s actions. But we should not overlook and never forget that he exhaustively utilized his own body and its movable range within a limited time, while also achieving to create dark shadings directly below his body. In addition, those shadings allowed us to feel as if they were shedding bright light upon our faces and bodies. This was possible because we witnessed the justified result of his actions in which a physical mass, movements and the passing of time perfectly merged. His actions made no excuses whatsoever, nor were they embellished in any way. Murata, seen as a solid mass, made a transient counterattack upon gravity. Therefore, we were very fortunate to be present at his performance.