Ryota Kuwabara’s “Rain in Macondo”

The Form Review is a simple attempt to increase dialogue within art journalism and highlight the subjectivity of a traditional exhibition review.  Artists/curators/responsible parties of an exhibition are invited to respond to five short prompts.  In turn, a representative of the St.Claire views the exhibition and independently responds to the same five prompts.  Both sets of “form answers” are published in tandem on the St.Claire website. To participate drop us a line at hark@the-st-claire.com


(IMAGE: Courtesy of the artist)


form_review_eye1 Responses by Ryota Kuwabara, Artist

 1. What is hidden in this exhibition?  What is in plain sight?

Just because it was divided into small space, originally I wanted to simply create the space fulfilled with my painting and sculpture that I learned so far. But the plan has gradually changed once I started to organize them. It is the idea of universalism and religious/pure experience in daily life, which helps you to leach the realization of the patterns/reality hidden in the universe like a mathematics equation.

I installed an altar, which borrowing a shape of piano, on the center as if small pray room or living room. Making objects not very specific but ambiguous was one of my goals in that project because of the realization that there are many moments to connect to the transcendent existence, (which people may say its god, collective unconsciousness, nature, Atman, universe, etc.) in the daily life.

According to the piano, I installed paintings almost like large windows as if they lead the viewer to another world. Here the paintings also work not as symbols, indexes nor icons but just a vehicles to give a new experience to the viewers. The exhibition consisted of the sublimated or exaggerated moments that I cut out from daily life in order to reconsider the everyday.


2. Who would be this exhibition’s parents?  What might it’s children look like?

Many disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes happen in Japan where I grew up. It is a tiny island and we are not able to escape but must deal with it. Therefore the architecture is very solid but also flexible in order to parry the impacts. Since I moved to US three years ago, I have been objectively thinking of the way I think as an Easterner in a Western country. I think the idea of accepting destruction and loss, as a part of creation are the parents of my exhibition. I named the show “Rain in Macondo” because I wanted to emphasize the repetition of creation and destruction borrowing from the endless rain sequence in the book, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. The destruction and creation refers to the process of my painting, history of human being itself, my old self and so on. I think the children look completely different from the parents because they might as well the consequence of the different cycle of ruin and creation and I believe it is called progress.


3. Describe one moment in this exhibition.

So many people were sitting on the chair and quietly looking at paintings. That moment was the one I wanted to create. I hope the moment somehow connects to their daily life and lets them know there is nothing special in that exhibition, but that moment we shared was always hidden in the daily life.


4. This exhibition answers/asks the following question:

The process of repetition of creation and destruction of artworks, leads me to ask the questions, what are the things surrounding us, what is the history of human being and how is creativity related to it? Especially when I paint, it is almost like a dialogue between me and formless me, within the ancient ocean where the memory is accumulated since we were animals.

It also gives me a new question: what is the moment we are sharing in this world? What is the meaning of collecting one person’s creation in one room? This show is only for three days and it will be everlastingly gone. Having a show is very metaphysical deed for me. And I don’t know the meaning of that right now.


5. You should message this exhibition if…

People are neglecting the daily life and escaping to synthetic reality, a future you never know, nostalgic childhood, drug, and death. There are so many beautiful moments in almost every moment. You just need to open your mind and look at the universe. Your own room, the street outside of your house, when you take a shower, and so on. Once you realize the beauty of the world, I think it will give you the strong energy, almost an explosion, in every moment to enjoy life. I hope my show could help people to recognize and open their mind to look at the universe, which surrounds you.


form_review_eye2Responses by Matt Kalasky, The St.Claire

1. What is hidden in this exhibition?  What is in plain sight?

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude” Gabriel García Márquez’s characters live through four years of never ending rain. In the story, the deluge is a force of mourning, ruination, and cleansing for the small town of Macondo and the Buendia family. In Kuwabara‘s exhibition there is an overwhelming perfume of stale aristocracy. This room has been shuttered away. Kept indoors by the never ending rain, the monied vibrance has stagnated into beige benign silence. The piano has fallen into disrepair. It has fallen into something else. It has fallen into abstraction.


2. Who would be this exhibition’s parents?  What might it’s children look like?

Helen Frankenthaler went on a vacation to the caribbean once and did not return for three years seven months and six days. In that time she met a wealthy banana company executive. They spent their time watching the rain, drinking hot jasmin tea, and swimming like dogs among the mangroves and the almond trees. The children never understood the point of abstraction. They think it is cute the way the rich cling desperately to the keys of knowledge; its coded messages within shape and color; its divine relevance hidden behind line and form. As if having all the money wasn’t enough you also had to own all the understanding.


3. Describe one moment in this exhibition.

Usually inside an installation I feel like I am just too late or just too early. There is a charge in the air that the artist has created a stage and the action is coming soon or recently departed. In this exhibition there is no mistake. We are eons late. It’s the same way you feel when visit a cave or a crypt. A space that belongs so fully not to this time but one light years away. Your presences, and its glow of newness, brings vitality back for just a moment. You can almost hear on a ghoul of a whisper the clavichord playing the most contemporary waltz; the splash of champagne watering the floor as we talk about meaning in painting–meaning in general.


4. This exhibition answers/asks the following question:

A concert hall or a monastery? A living room or a funeral home? A piano or a booby-trap? A painting or a mood? A time or a place?


5.  You should message this exhibition if…

“Aureliano Segundo returned home with his trunks, convinced that not only Ursula but all the inhabitants of Macondo were waiting for it to clear in order to die. He had seen them as he passed by, sitting in their parlors with an absorbed look and folded arms, feeling unbroken time pass, relentless time, because it was useless to divide it into months and years, and the day into hours, when one could do nothing but contemplate the rain.”



Ryota Kuwabara’s “Rain in Macondo”

February 25 – February 28, 2015

Tyler School of Art
2001 N 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Comments are closed.