神社の鳥居という表現は確かにそうですね。こちらの『Cosmos of Silence』（ORDINARY BOOKS）という私の作品集では、まさに「神社の鳥居をくぐるような感覚になりますね」というコメントを頂いたことがあります。表紙から2ページ、3ページと捲っても真っ白な画面が続くのですが、書名にある「静けさの宇宙（Cosmos of Silence）」への空間的な導入として設計しています。一方で、こうした真っ白な装いには一定の緊張感が生じますよね。背筋が伸びて清らかな気持ちになる反面、場合によってはこわばらせてしまう逆効果もあると思います。近年は、軽やかさや穏やかさのバランスも併せ持つ「やさしい緊張感」を纏えたらという気持ちです。
There are never-before-seen forms that establish our world drifting within the soft massless coat that engulfs this world.
It is perhaps something the artist senses.
As if taking a careful look at ku (space),
the artist simply surrenders himself to the space
and collects the delicate essences that are prepared to be defined.
We are to witness
never-before-seen aesthetics expressed
through the artist’s intuition.
— Your works, whether they be for art or design, seem to consistently be minimal in aesthetic.
I majored in typography and editorial design during my time in university. Since then, I had always been fascinated in the works of Emil Ruder and Josef Muller-Brockmann that excluded the decorative elements of design. During my time as a student, as I became exposed to various forms of art and music, I had gradually found that “perceiving things by their true nature” was relevant to my style. Furthermore, as a child, I was raised in an environment full of aesthetics and sensibilities that cherished the true nature of things as well as yohaku (perceptual empty spaces) since my grandfather had been fond of bonsai and my grandmother, while enjoying calligraphy, was a potter who made bonsai pots. I believe we are capable of applying a certain form of true dynamism in spaces since minimal aspects and yohaku exist.
— So, you had gradually gained your knowledge and sensibility by being surrounded by beautiful items.
I believe beauty is an important element that constitutes a work of art, but a crucial point I keep in mind is to not create my works with an emphasis on visual beauty. I think it is important to have doubts about anything that is immediately beautiful and luxurious. I say so because I believe superficial beauty can conceal the horrors and hollowness of the works’ true nature. I seek to determine the true nature of the beauty hidden deep under the surface of various elements including works of art. What is crucial is to not simply neglect the exterior aspects of things but to reinterpret exterior and interior aspects as a relationship that permeates through each other.
— So, you probe into the true nature of what dwells in the depth of things. Do you take a similar approach as a designer as well?
In fact, I do. There is always a client for all my design related projects. In order to materialize what my clients are to communicate, I apply visual art techniques to my work. It is desirable that I promptly grasp the true nature of the product I am to design and provide a piece that is in its purest state. When I create printed works, I create them so that they resonate with the content in order to fully make use of the abundance in textures and colors of the paper, which can also be considered as the flesh of the work, they are printed on. Since I want to use paper as a substance with a soul, I purposefully used the term flesh to describe it. In my case, it is crucial that I harvest the essence of the content as much as possible before I start to create my work.
— Please tell us about the background and processes you apply to your design work.
For example, this book “Practicing Aesthetics” (by Futoshi Hoshino, Suiseisha) is a book I designed. The 3 major themes of this book are “sublimity,” “relationships,” and “life.” The book questions the nature of aesthetics, which is an element that has always been the subject of debate within the field of academics. In the book’s final notes, the author defines aesthetics as a type of interim report. When I designed the book, I extracted elements such as “aerial suspension,” “space,” and “practice,” and aimed to create a composition that records aesthetic practice as text in a white cube like space. By excluding decorative elements as much as possible, I created a state in which figurative definitions remained suspended in an ambiguous way, and designed the book by synchronizing the white material, which possesses a diverse range of details, with the elaborate and sincere text written by the author.
— I see. I believe that you are highly adept in creating designs with an essence that makes their viewers want to delve deeper intuitively. I feel it is similar to how people pass through the torii gates of shrines.
I agree that the products of my method are similar to what people feel when they pass through torii gates. I’ve had people tell me that my “Cosmos of Silence” (ORDINARY BOOKS) series gives them the impression that they had passed through a torii gate. The first 3 pages of the book are plain white pages. I designed them like this to express the voidness incorporated in the book’s title. On the other hand, this kind of white design emits a sense of unease. I believe that while this style offers a sense of purity, it can also provide a counter effect that makes its viewer feel strained. Currently, I am aiming to create works that can offer a pleasant kind of tension that has the attributes of both airiness and calmness.
— While you have a broad design theory, you seem to be expanding your activities as an artist.
If I were to describe my central theme for my work, I would have to say that I always embrace the true essence of things. As a foundation for my ideas, I want to embrace and celebrate the true nature of various elements. It is extremely difficult to directly understand phenomena while excluding their meanings and concepts. I believe it is crucial to continue pursuing what kind of experience the phenomena may bring. I want to continue being stimulated by how I recognize and experience various things. By hoping to expand these practices, I was naturally capable of applying these sensibilities into my artwork.
— You tend to refer to a single article for each of your work. Can you give us details on some of your pieces?
《Optical Glass》 is a sculpture I created using optical glass. When you create glass sculptures, the sculptor is unable to precisely control how the glass breaks. Since glass breaks naturally, an extremely raw and uneven swelling form is generated. I have always been fascinated by the aspect of “space.” We are only capable of living because this “space” embraces us. We are capable of breathing because of the fine particles we can’t perceive. As the saying “reading the room” goes, the space that embraces us is full of non-visible information that can only be perceived. Glass is a completely transparent material that exists physically. In other words, I believe it is a material that stands in between actual existence and non-existence. Furthermore, optical glass is a material that is used for camera lenses. It allows information to penetrate while projecting it’s surrounding images. It basically means that we are witnessing the space beyond the glass itself. You can even say that the space is being manifested as a physical object.
My 《Skin》 series are high-definition grayscale photographs that display the fine and complex texture of human skin. I created them with a raw sense of substance that makes the work seem as if they are actually skin. Being born a human being, I cherish our ability to sense various things through touch. I truly find it precious that we are capable of feeling other people and things through our delicate cutaneous senses. For example, wrinkles and lanugo hair are present on our skin naturally. They are not there by design and develop independently. Through this phenomenon, I realized that there were natural materials with cosmical fluctuations and immense depth in the most familiar of places.
— So, instead of creating from scratch, you manifest the true nature of things that already exist.
It is true that I am in pursuit of the true nature of things. By the way, I see that you’ve titled your articles “cite.” The term shitekata, which is a term for the main actors of Noh performances, is described as wazaogi (actor) in the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) as well as the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan) and means to beckon divine will. When speaking of art, the artist is basically an instrument that speaks on behalf of non-human phenomena such as nature. I am very conscious of this when I create my work. However, I believe that works that act as if they’ve reached the true essences and fundamental truths of things are extremely arrogant, and therefore find it crucial to continue thinking about these matters.
— Are there any other themes you would like to investigate from now on?
I’d like to contemplate over subjects, that haven’t been thought to possess souls, such as time and space. Don’t you think it’s mystical and beautiful to simply be capable of existing, enveloped in space, as time continues to be generated? To add to that, I believe time and space also have diverse sensibilities, and I would like to harness experiences that make essences such as calmness and kindness perceivable. I aim to discover a counter for the excessive and overloaded state of our sensibilities that is common in our contemporary world. Maybe my work would take on a form that is only half physical.
— Lastly, may we ask what motivates you to continue your creative activities?
It is because I would like to continue polishing my soul. For me, creation is an act in which I tinker with unique subjects that have never before been touched on. It is an act in which I infuse new perspectives and values by applying fine sensibilities as well as tranquil time to my craft. You can also say that it is an act in which I layer fine and tranquil changes over the other. Through my interactions with my work, I polish my soul on a daily basis, with hopes to discover a means to reweave the concept of life. In this way, my aim to fulfill my anima is intimately related to my production.
Goshi Uhira / 宇平 剛史
現代美術家・デザイナー。1988年福岡県福岡市生まれ。東京都立大学システムデザイン学部インダストリアルアートコース修了。人の皮膚がもつ無限の肌理を高精細のグレースケール写真で提示する連作《Skin》や、数千個のガラスの球体を用いたインスタレーション作品《Glass Balls》などを発表している。2023年にN&A Art SITEで個展「事物の生」、2021年に横浜市民ギャラリーで個展「Unknown Skin」、2020年にNADiff a/p/a/r/tで「呼吸する書物｜Breathing Books」を開催。2020年に3331 Arts Chiyodaで開催された3331 Art Fairに参加し、小池一子賞を受賞。装幀を手がけた主な書籍に、星野太『美学のプラクティス』(水声社、2021年)、沢山遼『絵画の力学』(書肆侃侃房、2020年)、荒川徹『ドナルド・ジャッド』 (水声社、2019年)、横田大輔『Vertigo』(Newfave、2014年) などがある。2022年にはこれまでのアートワークとデザインワークで構成した初の作品集『Cosmos of Silence』(ORDINARY BOOKS) を出版。
Contemporary artist and designer. Born in Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture in 1988. Graduated from the Industrial Art Course of the System Design Department at Tokyo Metropolitan University. Presented works such as his Skin series, that displays the infinite textures of the human skin in high-definition grayscale photos, and Glass Balls, which is composed of a several thousand glass spheres. Held his solo exhibition “Lives of Things” at N&A Art SITE in 2023, “Unknown Skin” at the Yokohama Civic Art Gallery in 2021, and “Breathing Books” at NADiff a/p/a/r/t in 2020. Participated in the 3331 Art Fair held in 3331 Arts Chiyoda in 2020 and won the Kazuko Koike Prize. He has provided designs for books such as “Practicing Aesthetics” by Futoshi Hoshino (Suiseisha, 2021), “Dynamics of Painting” by Ryo Sawayama (Shoshikankanbou, 2020), “Donald Judd: Landscape and Minimalism” by Toru Arakawa (Suiseisha, 2019), and “Vertigo” by Daisuke Yokota (Newfave, 2014) among others. In 2022, he published “Cosmos of Silence” (ORDINARY BOOKS) which was his first collection of works that consists of his various art works and design works he had presented up to that point.
"Respect and Go Beyond"をミッションに日本の総合芸術である「茶の湯」をテクノロジーやストリートカルチャーなど様々な領域と掛け合わせ“再解釈”することで、茶の湯の持つ精神性や美意識を提起するアートプロデュース事業を展開する。
With the mission of "Respect and Go Beyond," the company is developing an art production business that raises the spirituality and aesthetics of the tea ceremony by "reinterpreting" the comprehensive Japanese art of "chanoyu" by crossing it with various domains such as technology and street culture.