5 I GO
Jun Azumatei, Remo Hobi, Hildegard Spielhofer, Tina Z`Rotz
An essential element in traditional Japanese houses is the Tokonoma. This is a small ground-level wall niche, into which a composition consisting of an inscribed scroll or a picture scroll and an Ikebana, a flower arrangement, is placed. Unlike our house decorations, which are often situated in the same spot for years, the Tokonama is often set somewhere else. The Tokonama might reflect the current season, it might represent the thrill of anticipation of a important coming event or (as someone once explained to me) express the house owner's mood. "We value a scroll above all for the way it blends with the walls of the alcove, and thus we consider the mounting quite as important as the calligraphy or painting." This is how Japanese writer Tanizaki Jun`ichiro describes the care and attention with which the Tokonama is being tended and arranged. (Lob des Schattens, 1933)
The Tokonama is essentially a small private exhibition, curated by the man or the lady of the house for themselves or for their guests, and which they re-arrange again and again. Similarly the exhibit 5 I Go: Based on what they experienced during their shared exhibition in Tokyo in the summer 2011, Jun Azumatei and Hildegard Spielhofer decided to show their works in Switzerland also, and they invited two artists, who they are friends with, to join them. Together the artists are installing their works of art in the Projektraum Bollag. The presentation is being complemented by a series of films and a ?Diner Priv?“. The four artists present a versatile and ever-changing arrangement: The digit "5" in the title, meaning "GO" in Japanese, integrates the visitor as a fifth guest into the exhibit.
Jun Azumatei examines in his paintings and photographs surfaces and their perception. He investigates how we capture images or experiences, how we remember. So Azumatei for example displays a pillow case spanned over a stretcher frame. Having become worn out and thin by usage the pillow case turns into an almost transparent surface, through which the stretcher frames are shimmering. Azumatei now trickles drops of poppy-seed oil onto this surface. At the points where the poppy oil dropped on the fabric it turns darker, a new structure emerges.
"Sad but true" (2011), so the title of this work, is an attempt to portray fading memories and the search after the vanishing traces of a (strange) opposite. The artist carries the pointillistic structure of the poppy oil drops forward to a wall, thereby using golden thumbtacks. A wall picture emerges next to the canvas, a counterpiece, or: the positive image facing the negative.
Remo Hobi usually develops his work directly in the room, forming it out of the architecture. Stark forms like the line, the filled or left blank surface, which he piles up and arranges on various levels on top of and next to each other, are the bases of his wall paintings or wall drawings. For instance in Tbilisi he created a dense band of black lines tracing an otherwise rather inconspicuous edge in an exhibition room and through this gave the room a sculptural effect.
With his simple, very precise interventions into existing architectural structures Hobi succeeds in shifting our perception and in uncovering the overlooked peculiarities and distinct features of rooms.
Hildegard Spielhofer in her pieces of art and her installations often combines (scientific) inquiries, own experiences and associations to form a complex net. So she creates for example an edition of offset prints, in which she refers to the record Snowflakes are Dancing (1974) by Japanese musician and pioneer of electronic music Isao Taomita, who converted Claude Debussy's piano pieces utilizing a synthesizer. The version's colours are intensified and altered continually with every edition.
In two other objects of exposition Hildegard Spielhofer transforms found materials or items by performing minimal intrusions into formally reduced, poetical objects: Into a sleeve of a liquid manure tube she found she inserts a neon and combines it with an unknown Japanese poet's Haiku. And for an installation made of cherry, fig and olive tree pieces she carefully threads wooden rings onto nylon thread and hangs them from the ceiling. A protective and at the same time transparent wall is formed.
Tina Z`Rotz`s installations and video works are often absurd-poetic implementations or enactments of reality. Dealing with volume, colour and material are at the heart of her sculptural works. The objects are usually made by hand or by using traditional handicraft techniques ? like for example traditionally chip-carved logs of wood or a branch made of sawdust that Z'Rotz combined with sprayed colour fields transforming them into intriguing ensembles. In the wall sculpture "Hagender Fluss" ("hanging river") she concentrated on the clash between static sculpture and agitated reality. The shown river does not simply flow top down, but the movement regenerates itself in endless loops. Subsequently while referring to tubular, intestinal shaped forms, Z'Rotz creates the model of a three-dimensional waterfall.
Normally, the Tokonama is also the place in the house where the tea ceremony takes place. Thereby the most important guest traditionally sits with his/her back to the Tokonama. The hosts do not wish to create the impression that they are trying to force the view of their house ornaments upon the guests.
Likewise the four artist's exhibition is by no means obtrusive. The displayed works speak in a reduced, poetic but nevertheless precise language and show a very personal view of the world. It is an encounter, a minute array of diverse approaches and thoughts in a room, to which also the visitor feels invited to attend and participate - being the fifth guest.