maandag 8 juni 2015

Artist of the Year 2015 - Koki Tanake - Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle

Artist of the Year 2015 was (according to the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle) the interesting Japanese artist Koki Tanake (1975). Tanake examines everyday objects you can buy for example in a supermarket and ordinary tasks like climbing a ladder. He wants to know what the nature is of our relationship to them, how aware we are of these relationships and if there is room for alterations. 
Installation view Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle
Did you ever consider the way you handle a plastic cup? Most people can't help squeezing it when it's empty, an act that almost always makes the object unusable, because it cracks. This and other acts can be seen in the video Everything is Everything (2009). The subtle aggression towards everyday objects and sometimes even their soft destruction feels nice somehow. To smack the lid down of a container is a good way to let everyday frustration out. 
The thought here has more to do with awareness. Most objects you don't observe anymore because you've handled them a million times before. The mind simple doesn't have the time to observe everything all the time, so attention is diverted constantly to what seems the most important. A video like the one above can divert this attention back. 

Tanaka's new work is more about social collaborations and its limitations. For example: can you ask 9 hairdressers to cut the hair of one person? Or will someone help you if you ask them if you could use their car to climb onto a roof? And then later on ask another person to get you down? I'm sure that in for example my home country, the Netherlands, he wouldn't be so lucky to find someone so quickly. 
Installation view Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle
The term 'Social Sculpture", created in the sixties by German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86), has been connected with Tanaka's work. The basic assumption here is that society as a whole is a work of art, everybody has creative energy and everyone can contribute to it. It brought a meaning to art, a way to ensure participation in building a society.

In Tanaka's work, social structures are made visible. Actually sort of like the everyday objects, by focussing your attention. They pose questions about the limits of our social endeavors. Tanaka calls these works "precarious tasks", because we are most likely to find out how social we really are in emergency situations.

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