> Tam Ochiai “Itinerary, non?” Tomio Koyama Gallery 2019.1.12 – 2.9

Tam Ochiai “Itinerary, non?”
Tomio Koyama Gallery 2019.1.12 – 2.9

Written by Shuta Hasunuma|2019.2.16

©Tam Ochiai, photo by Kenji Takahashi

Tomio Koyama Gallery in Roppongi showed an exhibition of works by New York-based artist Tam Ochiai, titled “Itinerary, non?” This was Ochiai’s first solo show in Tokyo since his exhibition “Spies are only revealed when they get caught” at Watari-um in 2010.

I first met Ochiai in New York, and we rarely have a chance to meet up here in Tokyo, but at the occasion of the “Satellite TV” exhibition that artist Anne Eastman curated in November 2017, we performed “overtones & Contagious, M” together at the opening reception. In 2018 we were also involved in the organization of “TV Mountain School 2018,” an event staged in and around the Troedsson Villa in Nikko, so we have been deepening our friendship lately.


©Tam Ochiai, photo by Kenji Takahashi

On show at this exhibition of new works were twelve large paintings, each with a different background color, and representing one month of the year. Painted onto these backgrounds are the names of cities around the word, along with the respective month’s national holidays in each of these cities. The idea is to let the visitor travel around these cities while looking at the paintings. What are the meanings behind such holidays? Being someone who is constantly working on one thing or another, the concept of holidays is alien to me personally, so I consider a “holiday” as a type of day that is valid for everyone but myself. But as a matter of course, a holiday is for many a special, pleasant kind of day on which they are allowed to let their hair down. So a “holiday” is a day that means different things to different people. Above that, there are various religious, political and other history-related meanings behind the public holidays in cities in different parts of the world. Each of the paintings exhibited here feels in a way like one “month” of a calendar. All these different elements contained within the paintings stimulate our imagination. Today we can travel to any city on the globe, and this exhibition inspires the viewer to think about the notions of leaving a country and entering a country that such international travels involve. The permission to leave and enter is only granted after one’s own identity is verified by someone else, and it’s always the viewpoint of that “someone” that comes into play. The “eyes” in the paintings evoke a similar feeling of strain as if being watched, and at once the tension that naturally comes with the “unknown experience” that is a journey. Expressed here is the gaze of others or one’s own inner observation through which one can rediscover oneself; and the tingling thrill that goes hand in hand with the joy of traveling.

©Tam Ochiai, photo by Kenji Takahashi

“Itinerary, non?” is an exhibition that takes the visitor out into the boundless world by means of painting. What Tam Ochiai does is apply and reconstruct the viewpoint of everyday life through the medium of painting, and he does so by employing processes that enable him to incorporate methods including drawing, sculpture, video, performance and poetry. Seeing this exhibition of new paintings was for me an experience that inspired me to go home and create something new myself. I am always impressed by works that provide input for my own creative work, because that’s exactly what life itself is about. In Tam Ochiai’s case, his works are connected to my own ideas, and all I have to do is join the dots.

Translated by Andreas Stuhlmann


Tam Ochiai “Itinerary, non?”

Tomio Koyama Gallery
2019.1.12 - 2.9


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蓮沼執太 Shuta Hasunuma

Born 1983 in Tokyo. Next to performing live with his own “Shuta Hasunuma Philharmonic Orchestra” in Japan and abroad, his diverse activities include contributing soundtracks to stage productionsand movies, and producing and creating music that is mainly based on environmental and electronic sounds. In recent years he has been applying the methods of musical composition to various media such as video, sound, sculpture and installation, the results of which he has been showcasing at domestic and international exhibitions and projects. Recent projects include the album “ANTHROPOCENE” (Shuta Hasunuma Philharmonic Orchestra, 2018), and the exhibitions “Compositions” (Pioneer Works, New York, 2018) and “ ~  ing”(Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo, 2018). shutahasunuma.com