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About the memories and emotions that dwell in things.

About the memories and emotions that dwell in things.

Don't be bound by preconceived notions and live faithfully to your own aesthetic sense. The series "Seekers of Freedom" touches upon the thoughts of such "Seekers of Freedom" and evokes the power of images that effortlessly transcend the concept of known things and time.


Pictures in frames floating in the air, lights embedded in a glass jar of honey, a blue mattress and a round frame showing its future... Artist Hiroshi Isogai's works shatter the "ordinary" of the viewer and present the possibilities of an alternative world.

The encounter between Mr. Isogai and SIRI SIRI was triggered by a request to make a wedding ring out of the gold jewelry used by Mr. and Mrs. Isogai's respective mothers. SIRI SIRI Designer Okamoto and I have some things in common, such as having a background in architecture and having studied abroad in the UK.

Currently, Mr. Isoya's 3rd solo exhibition in 4 years, "Flow as a prototype" is being held at Meguro's gallery " Aoyama Meguro ( ". We asked him about his approach to art and the relationship between art and design.


SIRI SIRI representative and designer. Graduated from the Space Design Department of Kuwasawa Design Institute. In 2006, he started the jewelry brand "SIRI SIRI". Making use of her experience in architecture and interior design, she creates jewelry using materials around her, such as glass.


Artist. After graduating from the Department of Architecture at Tokyo University of the Arts, studied art at the University's Graduate School of Intermedia Art and the Associate Research Program at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Through sculpture, photography, drawing, and their mutual relationships, we reconsider the coherence of perception and the integrated sense of time. Scheduled to participate in "Roppongi Crossing 2019: Connexion", which will start at the Mori Art Museum in February 2019.

myself and the world

Okamoto : In your current solo exhibition, “Flow as a prototype,” you say that you want to work on “reviewing the consistency of linear time and recognition.” What kind of things did you have in mind when creating this work?

Isogai : In the world we live in today, when we say “time,” we naturally mean the time measured by a clock. Of course, it's rational and convenient, but in some ways, our lives are dictated by the things we used to use as tools called clocks. I wanted to reconsider that, in other words, I thought it would be good to have more types and options in the meaning of the word "time", so I created this work.

We use units to grasp the events that are happening before our eyes, such as "when" and "where", but that alone is not enough to grasp everything in the world. For example, the emotions of the people who were there, the atmosphere of the place. I'm interested in how to capture things that cannot be captured by numbers. If there is a structure of emotion and atmosphere, how can I capture it?

Birds can actually fly without any scientific knowledge of how they fly. In the same way, I want to be able to use my sensibilities and senses to perceive the world physically rather than scientifically. By creating works, I want to explore my own unique way of perceiving the world.

Okamoto : When I think about capturing the world, I sometimes think that the Japanese sense of beauty is to find perfect beauty when all things, spaces, and people are combined. Mr. Isogai, is there anything that you are conscious of "being Japanese" while creating your work?

Isogai : I don't think I should take this kind of approach just because I'm Japanese.

If anything, I'm creating my work because I want to know more about myself, so in a sense I'm selfish, but I'm honestly doing it. When presenting a work, there are times when I don't even know what I'm doing half the time, but when I think, "This is flying well, isn't it?" Talking to people who see it and listening to their impressions, I can learn a little more about how to fly.

Of course, in the process of creating such works, I was born and raised in Japan, so I think I am influenced by the traditions and culture of this country. On the other hand, I believe that contemporary art is premised on being international, so when I create works, I don't consciously think only from Japan.

matter and memory

Okamoto : When I look at Mr. Isogai's work, I sometimes get a sense of the culture of mitate. Just like a garden that uses stones to express the sea, I get the impression that objects are used to express "things that aren't there."

Isogai : Rather than showing things that aren't there through mitate, you may be thinking that you want to show that all matter has a memory. For example, "Flowers and Bees, Transmissive History" is simply a work that puts a fishing light inside a bottle of honey. This honey is by no means special, but there is a history that before coming here, the nectar of flowers was collected by the labor of bees, turned into honey, and it was collected by people. In other words, this substance itself has a memory.

This work presents a situation in which light penetrates through the thickness of honey and leaks out, but even that alone does not normally occur. The principle of mitate, which finds something else in one object, exists in the form of 'memory' in all materials. I think it would be interesting if, through such an unusual situation, you could notice such a way of looking at things.

Okamoto : I really agree with you.

Isogai : The same goes for the ring Mr. Okamoto made. The ring I'm wearing is a ring made by melting the jewelry that my wife's mother and my mother used, but the jewelry that our mothers used also has a "memory" before that. be.

Okamoto : Gold is a special material, isn't it? Because it is valuable in itself, it continues to live as gold without being thrown away. When I received the request, I remember thinking that this was a story peculiar to the material called gold.

works and words

Isogai : I also like to think about words, and the title of this exhibition in Japanese is "Flow as a prototype", but in English it is "Figured in the drift of things". This is taken from TS Eliot's phrase "Figured in the drift of stars."

Okamoto : Do ​​you add titles later?

Isogai : A lot of it comes later. I have a work, and I add words later, but I think that sense of distance is quite important. Rather than using words to describe the work itself, I would like to add a little distance to create a sense of incongruity. It's not that the work and the words are closely related, but that the work is here, so the words are there.

Okamoto : It feels like they complement each other.

Isogai : Yes. Touching words is interesting because images boil.

Okamoto : It's true that words, as tools for evoking images, "move" to such an extent that I'm envious of them. I believe that the image comes alive. I also have a longing to write by myself.

things and emotions

Isogai : What are you doing at graduate school in Switzerland now?

Okamoto : Right now, I'm trying to give shape to 40 emotions. There is a diagram called "The Feeling Wheel" that expresses the basic emotions that people have, and I create sculptures based on that.

Isogai : Materials and sizes are different.

Okamoto : Yes. This time, I'm not particular about quality, and I'm doing it quickly while linking to my emotions.

As technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence continue to evolve, designers will be able to do their jobs more efficiently. In such an era, this work is based on the hypothesis that "sensitivity" will become more important for human designers. Especially in my normal design work, I don't use bad emotions, so it's also a training to face emotions such as anger, sadness, and jealousy.

Isogai : Assuming that the things you create represent your emotions, do you think the viewers will feel the same?

Okamoto : At first, I was trying to find out. I thought it would be interesting if emotions could become a communication tool by confronting objects. But how you feel is highly subjective and difficult to measure. Also, as Mr. Isogai said, I felt that trying to measure emotions using existing yardsticks itself was rude.

In the first place, the idea of ​​"emotions dwelling in things" may be easy for Japanese people who have the idea of ​​8 million gods, but it seems difficult for Europeans to understand. My classmates call me "Nahism" (laughs).

Isogai : Perhaps the idea that Mr. Okamoto says that "emotions reside in objects" is similar to the idea that "objects have memories" that I am trying to demonstrate. People overseas may not understand if I talk about animism like "God dwells in things", but I think that Japanese people value the experiences and histories that are trapped in things. It might be easier to convey if you say "I'm here."

art and design

Okamoto : After graduating from a Japanese university majoring in architecture, Isogai-san studied art in London. This topic comes up from time to time in my current design department, but what do you think about the difference between art and design?

Isogai : It's just my opinion, but I think that design is still involved in "life." Wearing cool clothes makes you feel happy, or treating illness with medical equipment. I think it's based on the idea of ​​freeing one's life from pain, fear, or death as much as possible.

On the other hand, art treats "death" openly. I think it's based on the idea of ​​how to enrich each moment while accepting "death". For example, I think the reason why it suddenly sounds conceptual when someone says "designing death" is because thinking about death itself is not usually a central topic of discussion.

Okamoto : Even at my school, there is a classmate who is trying to make a device to heal the time until his death, which will soon come after his uncle became ill. It's a role. In this day and age, the influence of religion has diminished, and I believe that the concept of "life and death" has fallen into design and art work.

Isogai : I think so. In the first place, there was a time when "art = religion", and modern art began when people thought about what to draw and what to create in an era when religion lost its power. And the modern age that pushed forward with reason, the postmodernism that turned its eyes to the wild again as a reflection, and the art that "posed problems" to human beings and the world are beginning to be required to "solve problems". .

For example, the Turner Prize, Britain's most prestigious award for contemporary art, was awarded to the architect group "Assemble", which has worked on community regeneration. Research institutes at Goldsmiths, University of London, which conduct analysis, are candidates for awards. Of course, there are those who choose the Turner Prize, so there may be an idea behind the idea of ​​shifting art to ``problem-solving''.

On the other hand, Vietnamese-Danish artist Dan Pho, who is currently attracting worldwide attention, is a sexual minority who came to Denmark as a refugee after the Vietnam War. In his works, his identity is entwined as a social metaphor. Artists can always convey political and social messages responsibly as individual voices. I think that's what makes art interesting and meaningful.


It was supposed to be a dialogue on the theme of "manufacturing", but the topic spread to memory, words, emotions, art, and so on. It's been a long time since I've been in the middle of a long time.

The solo exhibition "Flow as a prototype" will be held at Aoyama Meguro until December 22nd. Please take this opportunity to experience Mr. Isogai's "how to perceive the world."

Written by Hiroto Miyamoto

Photo Go Itami

About the memories and emotions that dwell in things.

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