As we look back on the span of human civilization, we can consistently see the pursuit of the essence of tools and the sequence of refining them. Tools have become very much tied to the philosophical sensibility of human beings. From those created for destruction we see the rise of forms suited for creation; from articles that are simply a means to an end we see tools develop into objects of respect. Then once more, in the modern age, we can see the forces of commoditization and the market economy reduce these items to mere containers for their capabilities.
I now seek to revive the idea of having respect for these simple objects and to rebuild the relationship between our society and the tools we have come to take for granted. Through their use, these objects inspire a quiet appreciation of the place that tools, both simple and complex, occupy in the structure of human civilization.
I hope to reconnect humans and their artifacts in quiet celebration of form, function, and craft.
A Quiet Celebration, 2015
4th April - 30th April
Solo Exhibition in Zhengzhou, China
The Figuration of Consideration: On the Works of Morie Nishimura
Japan has a traditional practice known as the memorial service for broken needles.
This is somewhat like a farewell ceremony for needles that can no longer serve their purpose. At the end of the memorial, the needles are inserted into soft foods, such as tofu or konnyakku, as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude for their service.
Morie Nishimura (b. 1976) is an artist with diverse experience creating works in practical fields such as architecture and design. These works can be considered the tangible realization of the philosophy cultivated by Nishimura in his career. The artist’s most representative works are his objects in the guise of mirrors. Imbued with a quality that is peculiar to brass, they remind us of honey. Like bivalve shellfish or butterflies, they open and close, changing not only their own form as they do so, but also the appearance of the outer world that is reflected in them. The materiality of Nishimura's “brass mirrors,” however, is such that they oxidize gradually and lose their brilliance. And the person holding this “mirror,” finds him or herself more or less forced to polish its surface continually.
In the West, the mirror once served an important role in painting, acting as a motif that imparted a puzzling element to the work, as in the case of Las Meninas by Diego Velásquez. Meanwhile, in contemporary art, mirrors have been widely used to impart a magical visual character with the viewer, standing in front of the work, experiencing illusion and light. In contrast, if we consider the role assigned to Nishimura's “brass mirrors,” we can see that they put the viewer into an active position, above all else. However, if the viewer was to reach out and accidentally touch the work with his or her bare fingers in an attempt to care for these objects by polishing them, this would result in the eventual deterioration of the work. The only acceptable gesture of affection is mediated by a piece of cloth. We are prevented from having relaxed and intimate feelings towards these objects of respect.
Approximately 100 years ago, Marcel Duchamp turned something that was originally intended to be an object of practical use into an artwork, through the act of exhibiting it in a museum. He severed the object from the everyday. In a single act, an everyday object was simply sublimated into an art object, and this decisively estranged the everyday of non-art lovers from the contemporary art of the time. In fact, many artists and artistic movements from the 20th century until the present day have either resisted or re-interpreted this “historic event.” In terms of methodology, Duchamp sometimes employed visual stimulation and was often spurred by emotional sympathy. Here, if we compare this historical reality with Nishimura's concept, we can appreciate just how much “mechanisms to foster the creation of relationships between humans and artworks” are contained within the work, and just how unique this is.
Nishimura states: “My works liken objects to tools.” Because of this, people take care of the works. Nishimura also feels that he is able to feel gratitude towards tools and materials, which originate from the plastic design of the works, and to the spirit of experimentation and development in the artists and workmen that came before him.
Employing the same attitude, he also created works using bolts and wire mesh with mechanically superior qualities. In either case, while the final results are objects for which we feel gratitude—much like the needles in the memorial service for broken needles—they neither dedicate themselves to utility, nor do they keep their distance as some kind of abstruse idea of art. By using his method of likening, Nishimura situates his work in a neutral territory.
And now let's stand in front of the works. As evidence that the artist is in sympathy with the concept that has been assigned to these works, they most definitely allow mankind to approach a feeling of universal virtue.
Seed Art Gallery was founded in 2009. It is an organization dedicated in researching and promoting contemporary art, especially its local development, in terms of academic and commercial platforms. Seed Art Gallery pursuits in discovering young artists, with the usage new generation curators, in order to focus on finding, nourishing and maintaining young collectors. The gallery wishes to grow together with young artists, curators and collectors.
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A Familiar Calm, 2014
Bolted hook, mirror and shelf
Nut, hexagon containing a hidden spiral, is an icon of high industrialisation for us. I look for the way of offering to the industry itself with such a familiar product.
A Quiet Celebration, 2012
This is the brass mirrors which, through a daily polish, allows us to see ourselves in the same way those that came before us saw themselves.
Morie Nishimura / Artist
1976 born in Madrid, Spain
1996~2000, 2005~2011 studied in Tama Art University
2009 established NIAA Co., Ltd.
2011 NICHE GALLERY, Tokyo
2012 TENT, London
2012 Creatures of Comfort, Los Angeles
2013 Main branch of MITSUKOSHI,Tokyo
2013 NICHE GALLERY, Tokyo
2014 TENT, London
NIAA Co., Ltd.
3-3-12-3F, Ginza, Tokyo, Japan