When Yukihiro Taguchi started out exhibiting installation work, he found himself compelled to alter and evolve the arrangements continually for the duration of his shows. He then realised that his photographic documentation of the changes had a particular interest of their own, and that led to his current practice of performative installation.
Elaborate rearrangements of things are documented by thousands of pictures taken on stop-motion, thereby forming endless reconfigurations of space and time. For his recent exhibition at his Tokyo gallery Mujin-to Productions, Yuki conducted one of his ‘performative sketches’ from the other side of the world. Every nook and cranny of the tiny room (tiny even by Tokyo standards) was covered with his idiosyncratic drawings, including new ones which were sent to the gallery by fax daily from the artist’s base in Berlin. The process was documented by a camera set on automatic in the room, and the images taken will form a video work at a later date.
Other recent projects have applied a similar concept to outdoor public spaces (which Yuki says is much easier to do in Berlin, where the regulation of city space is infinitely more lax than it is in Japan). His acclaimed Moment series, for example, saw him take the wooden boards from a gallery floor and place them in endlessly evolving configurations all over the city – with the third and most recent volume in the series completed in Rio de Janeiro.
While the artist is never seen in the works, his presence is always evident. It is physically demanding stuff, requiring weeks or sometimes months of consistent manual labour and patience. But the results are fascinating, always forcing us to reconsider our relationships to our surroundings.
Yuki recalls that when he returned the floorboards to the gallery floor after taking them away on various adventures for four weeks, the residents of the building and anyone who had visited the installation during the project felt that the boards seemed strangely unnatural back in their original context, as if being removed from their location and function had fundamentally altered them. He took this as confirmation that new relationships with our daily landscapes and material surrounds can and should be explored.
Yukihiro Taguchi’s recent ‘performative sketch’ installation at Mujin-to in Tokyo.
In an earlier series of works, Yuki held gatherings in bubbles and documented their slow deflation.
Floor boards sneaking away and getting up to mischief around Berlin.
With new energy and expression being granted to everyday things like floors, furniture and air, the allure of Yuki’s work is that of the ancient art form of puppetry; making the inanimate animate and creating life from lifelessness.
Yukihiro Taguchi is one of seven Japanese artists to have video work included in Spooky Action at a Distance, opening at Black & Blue Gallery in Sydney at 6pm on December 4, and running until December 19.