One year after his first solo exhibition at galerie a, we will once again be hosting an exhibition by musician and poet Madoki Yamasaki, who will presenting his graffiti works.
Yamasaki sings, recites, writes, and endlessly crafts together poems, broadening his range of expression as if he were placing a hyphen between each and every one of his words.
Dwelling in a forever-revolving world reminiscent of a whirlpool, this “hyphenated”
expressionist will reflect his madness on transparent glass vessels. This summer, come get a firsthand view of the feverish heat that gently surges out of Yamasaki.
This is a session between Madoki Yamasaki and galerie a that began from “Co-existence with Poems”. Madoki Yamasaki has been tagging words on walls as one form of expression since his teenage years, when he began learning music. Nobuhiko Akiyoshi of galerie a became acquainted with Yamasaki, got a hold of the poems crafted by the artist, and requested for Yamasaki to do an exhibition under the artistic theme “Placing poems in one’s everyday life”.
Yamasaki then spent his days in the room that Akiyoshi lent to him as a studio, continuing his production process as summer approached. This year, Yamasaki and Akiyoshi will engage in their second session.
A series of characters improvised in the most exquisite way. Strokes of varying size, continuing on and on. The groove in Madoka Yamasaki’s penmanship and spray painting convey a peculiar, unique rhythm. For this particular exhibition, Yamasaki’s medium will be glassware collected by Akiyoshi. Characters filling the surface of glass, being passed through by the light that comes in contact with it. This exhibition will demonstrate the various forms of expression done by Yamasaki within that capacity.
Tagging, a type of graffiti seen on the streets in which the artist leaves a symbol representing himself in a quick moment and then flees the scene melting back into the crowd. Madoki Yamasaki has been creating works via this method for many years.
Although Yamasaki's works, precisely inscribed with words, use the tagging technique, they are a bit different from scribblings of street culture that are expressed in a momentary burst of passion. Rather, they are more cultivated and structured. Viewing his works, one can sense the cognitive ability and groove of his subjects, sustained through his innate talent and years of rich experience as a musician, as well as his will as a poet to grasp the words and fix them in place.
This exhibition, titled "hyphenated," is a sequel to the exhibition held last year, in which Yamasaki tagged his words on mirrors, furniture and other antiques in his own unique way. I myself was particularly captivated by the work using mirrors as the medium.
The words written on the surface of the mirror penetrated the transparent glass and were sent back from the reflective surface on its bottom side, which one is not usually aware of, forming a layer between the surface and bottom of the mirror.
The older the mirror, the thicker the glass. In other words, the older the mirror, the greater the physical distance between the words written on the surface and the words reflected on the other side. I got the impression that Yamasaki's words reflected on the bottom of the vintage mirrors collected by Nobuhiko Akiyoshi (founder and first in command at galerie a) were
something from the past, something that was calling to us from a distant mountain mist and became a double-copy of present words.
In last year's exhibition, which included this symbolic work, I felt that I saw the "work of a poet”. That is, a poet has a duty to continue weaving words together for the future, while also being confronted by— and at times even being perplexed by— his own image and past words being reflected and bounced right back at him.
Since ancient times the mirror has been a symbolic device in which many legends, poetry, and words in this world are derived from.
That being said, I also get the feeling that I may have been taken too far in by the magical atmosphere I felt at last year’s exhibition. Perhaps I should have viewed the work from a more simple and clear standpoint.
The medium Yamasaki used for this exhibition was glass collected by Nobuhiko Akiyoshi. Put differently, the reflective surface of the mirror has been taken away. It is a material that has the potential to pass through the poet's image and words, which were reflected and returned to its original side in last year’s exhibition, adding a magical aspect to the work. In this exhibition, the artist's cultivated skills are quite literally put to the test in broad daylight.
Although techniques vary from artist to artist, there is a long tradition in the world of glass art, in which the surface is decorated with elegant patterns. For an instant, I was tempted to consider the works in this exhibition to have more of a “craft” aspect than those in last year's exhibition.
But, despite the precision of his technique, Yamasaki's works do not treat words as a kind of “pattern", nor does he intend to showcase his precise writing technique or sense of balance. In that regard, his works should by no means be considered crafts.
Yamasaki is particular about his words. As the same words are endlessly written, they accelerate their unique undulating force, losing their legibility. In normal circumstances, a series of letters written like that would take the form of some kind of symbol and form a pattern, but why do Yamasaki's words, written in that continuous undulating manner, keep their form as words and do not transform into patterns? Seeing this directly, I was a little daunted by the intuition of the power in the words and pressure of the pen that Yamasaki had put into his writing.
To say that Yamasaki is obsessed with words would be a little bit off the mark.
Rather, Yamasaki believes in the power of words, which transcends legibility and even meaning.
This exhibition, titled "hyphenated," has a loose connection to its forerunner. But by introducing the transparent material of glass, it will be a challenging exhibition that showcases the strength in Yamasaki's words in a clearer form than last year's exhibition. It will be a challenging one. Those who attend the event will have the opportunity to— quite literally— confront the power of Madoki Yamasaki's words, which continue to undulate and speed up, to see them as they are.
Even without a symbolic device such as a mirror, the strength of these words will still be visible to the viewer, through light passing through the glass. In that respect, this exhibition may even be more magical than last year's.
Yamasaki MadokiA poet and musician.
Yamasaki began his presentation of his words and poems around the 90’s through graffiti and tagging on public walls.
Quite quickly, he also engaged in music in earnest and has been hosting “BOOKWORM, a word-themed event, since the 90’s. In 2013, he began the release of poem collections through equivalent exchange. In recent years, he has contributed to many collaborations born from tagging, as well as delivering his works on the walls of stores.
I gave up my production space to Yamasaki. It was my first time experiencing what one would call “running a residence”. When making a proposal to Yamasaki, he responded, “I’ll do it here. I get the feeling that it can only be done here." I found that interesting and was on board with the idea.
His days spent leisurely drawing continue. I left my space to him without even giving as much as a deadline.
He referred to the space as “Soft Jail”. Snuffing out the presence oozing from the space, his creative friends would gather there night after night.
“Life with Poetry” To bring that into fruition, I left all of my collected antiques in his hands.
- You can see the work on the following schedule. We look forward to seeing you there.
* Appointment is not required.
- 2023.8.3 THU - 8.13 SUN12:00 - 18:00
- 104, 6-9-2 Minamiaoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo
- 03 6450 6725
- Gallery Direction
- Nobuhiko Akiyoshi