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  • Maria Dolfini

An interview with Yumiko Ono

大野由美子個展《縮影》藝術家訪談

Artist Leading the Way | Taipei Artist Village: Exclusive Interviews with Artists-In-Residence

This interview was carried out by Maria Dolfini (M) in conversation with the artist Yumiko Ono (Y)


Scroll down for the Chinese version.


ABOUT THE ARTIST

Yumiko Ono is a Japanese-born artist based in New York. Having lived in former Soviet Union states for almost a decade, the architecture she experienced in these countries hugely informs her oeuvre. Ono’s works explore the concept of utopia through delicate and fragile materials such as porcelain, drawings and paper sculptures. By combining visual architectural elements from different cultural background, Ono attempts to build a chimeric world of unity: a utopian architecture.

Yumiko Ono is a residency artist at Taipei Artist Village; her solo exhibition Epitomes 縮影 is currently on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA) until February 2, 2020.

Yumiko Ono. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: Firstly, can you tell me a bit about yourself? You have a very interesting background, lived in several countries and studied different majors. How did your experience(s) abroad have an impact on your art practice?

Y: I studied oil painting at the Kyoto Seika University in Japan; at the time I was strongly inspired by Renaissance Italian painters such as Piero della Francesca. A rare exhibition of Balthus’ paintings in Venice was actually the incentive that brought me to Europe. Travelling around the continent, I fell in love with Eastern Europe since its culture and art seemed to share many similarities with Japan. For instance, the ‘slow’ and bleak cinema of Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr reminded me of Japanese scroll paintings, while Hungarian avant-garde painter Tivadar Csontváry Kosztkaso evoked the style of Japanese ukiyo-e. So, I decided to study in Hungary for a couple of years; then I moved to Prague and completed a master’s degree in Intermedia, experimenting with installation and casting.


I then had a hectic couple of years moving between Jerusalem in Israel and London, and eventually ended up in Russia where I embarked into my second master’s programme – this time in ceramics! I was always intrigued by porcelain as a medium, but I did not like the style of Japanese ceramics: it is too thick and heavy, and the colours overly earthy and organic. Russian ceramics are much more delicate instead. In Russia I had the chance to produce porcelain in the Imperial Porcelain Factory in Saint Petersburg alongside renowned ceramicists such as Kazimir Severinovich Malevich. I am now based in New York, although I still travel around.


My oeuvre revolves around the concept of utopia and utopian architecture, themes I gradually began to research when living in former Socialist states such as Hungary, Czech Republic and Russia and witnessing their architectural structures. However, every place and experience had an impact on my art practice. I don’t feel Japanese anymore, I don’t think that I belong to anywhere. Perhaps, I belong to everywhere. My work depicts buildings, cities and worlds real in my imagination, but non-existent in tangible reality. This is the result of my endless moving experience.


Yumiko Ono, Epitomes, MOCA Taipei. Exhibition view. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M: Going back to your origin, you often speak about Japan as a place suspended ‘between East and West’, equally influenced by East Asian traditions and American culture. On the other hand, you also assimilate Japan to former Soviet Union states. It is very interesting because Japan is usually distinguished by former Socialist and Communist states such as USSR and China, mainly because of their political history and the alliances in the Post-War.

Y: I actually consider Japan to be a ‘relatively successful version of a Socialist state’. After World War II, the United States rebuilt Japan and reformed our social structure, resulting in a loss of the super-wealthy aristocrats and the formation of a strong middle-class which narrowed the divide between rich and poor. This period was even called ‘一億総中流’: Japanese ideal of being middle-class and ordinary.


The social behaviour of the people in Eastern Europe ex-Socialist states is actually very similar to Japan: we are obedient to the system. In fact, Japanese society has a preference for formalism, order and societal standardisation which is easily to recollect in other Socialist states. Perhaps, it is something we shared about historical loss and colonisation, somehow always obeying to a stronger country. The difference lies in the fact that Japan never really had a strong dictator, everybody was instead striving to be the same.


This ideal of sameness can also be seen in daily life and architecture, I used to love to watch the parade and panel buildings in these countries! My interest in accumulating different elements within one framework was definitely influenced by seeing the standardised and ordered structures of architecture in former USSR states and Japan.


M: What do you think are the similarity between Taiwan and Japan instead? Would you also define Taiwan as a place ‘in between East and West’?

Y: I think Taiwan is more a place between the ‘East and the Far East’. When I firstly arrived in Taiwan, I mainly perceived it as a bridge between Chinese and Japan cultures, with a taste of Western heritage too. Taiwan has a complex identity due to its geographical location and colonial history; however, these foreign stimuli are beautifully merged with the local culture, unanimously engendering the uniqueness of Taiwanese culture.


M: You are undertaking an artist residency at the Taipei Artist Village (TAV) and just opened an impressive solo show, titled Epitomes 縮影, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA). Can you introduce your art project in Taiwan, as well as the main art pieces you are exhibiting?

Y: Initially my project was to employ Taiwanese architectural elements in order to create a utopian place, an imaginary building. However, after several field trips observing historical buildings, I realised that there is not a unitary, cohesive and absolute ‘Taiwanese architecture’; that was just the wrong approach to it! Taiwanese architecture developed through different phases which unanimously create Taiwanese-ness. As a response to these thoughts, the drawings of the series Cloud City and the paper sculptures Façade in the exhibition are a hybrid of buildings that I saw in Taiwan. While Pan City 10 compares and combines elements from brutalist architecture in the US with Soviet architecture.


The exhibition does not have a main piece: drawings, paper sculptures, porcelain castings are all conversing and supporting each other. I not only deconstruct architecture by depicting different elements of architectural complexes within a single work, but every artwork is a section that builds the exhibition as if it was an architectural piece itself! The funny thing is that there is not actual proper architecture involved, I use other mediums. It is about deconstructing and reconstructing different elements, cultures and identities to re-create a utopic and elusive world. It is a utopia because it only exists in my imagination and art.

Yumiko Ono, Cloud City, 2019, pencil on tracing paper. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: How does utopian architecture represent an artistic solution and/or representation of contemporary Taiwan and its identity? How does the structures of Zhizha, funerary paper models made for the deceased in the afterlife, feed into it?

Y: As I mentioned above, due to its colonial history and geographical location, Taiwan has many layers of cultural influences as well as a strong aboriginal presence. I wanted to overlap the idea of Taiwanese-ness and utopia, working with concepts of hybridity and nowhereness. I do not mean to deny the existence and uniqueness of Taiwan, my work is more about presence than absence! It is about re-creating this multifarious space and culture, patching together its multiple facets. I obviously have no authority to seriously speak about Taiwan since I am a foreigner; in fact, the exhibition is more a realisation of a personal topic than a historical and politic assertion. Since I see myself as belonging to different geographical spaces and identities, Taiwan is a very good space for me to explore these issues and the notion of utopian space.


The Zhizha 紙紮 which inspired my work Façades (2019), is a good example of Taiwanese ephemeral architecture. Zhiza consists in the Taoist custom of building a paper house for the deceased and burning it; I was truly fascinated by this practice! Initially I was interested in the colourful local paper houses, but I didn’t actually like the quality and patterns. So, I collaborated with a Taipei-based modern Zhizha company in order to build less traditional, but more architecturally refined samples. I created these drawings out of different facades, and they made them into paper structures. I chose to use white because I like to keep the original colour of the material and it evinces a sense of neutrality. More importantly, white resembles the notion of utopia in my head: it’s delicate, dynamic and futuristic.

Yumiko Ono, Façade, 2019, paper. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: I am very interested in your choice of mediums, why do you choose to represent architecture through paper and porcelain? While architecture is a discipline that values stability, power and order, porcelain conveys the idea of fragile purity, always on the verge of being shattered. What do you want to express in deconstructing and transforming architecture into imperfect and hybrid porcelain structures? It seems to me that you are almost trying to expose the impure concepts of fragility hidden within different cultures and the rigid forms of architecture.

Y: I love and admire powerful mediums such as architecture: it’s so overwhelming, imposing, rigid and rational. However, I am not an architect, I am not trained to design buildings, and I actually don’t really want to! In fact, if I constructed a building then it would exist, while I am interested in capturing the world that cannot exist – a utopia. This is the reason why I used non-architectural materials and non-architectural sizes. By employing porcelain and paper as mediums, I intend to create soft architecture, which conveys a sense of fragility and dynamicity, as opposed to the rigidity of architecture. It chimes with the utopian feeling of a chimeric world.


Moreover, using other mediums gives me more freedom: I take what I like from a building and fuse different perspectives into the same structure. So, my imaginary architectural structure becomes purely not possible to build: an unbuildable architecture.

Yumiko Ono, Epitomes, MOCA Taipei. Exhibition view. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

Yumiko Ono, Pan-City 10, 2019, porcelain. Courtesy of the artist.

M: The process of construction and deconstruction of elements from different buildings and cultures is especially evident in your drawing series Cloud City (2019), currently on show at MOCA in Taipei. The drawings are so precise and almost envisions futuristic utopian structures; they are gorgeous! Can you tell me more about the artistic process of this work? Why do you only focus on the surface of the building as opposed to its internal structure?

Y: The drawing series Cloud City originates from the photographs I took of buildings in Taiwan as well as different textures and patterns. I then used these different samples to draw a fusion of architectures on paper. I firstly drew the structure, then fill it with textures and patterns inspired by Taiwan aesthetics.

Actually, all of the works in the show only reproduce the façades of buildings without the inside. This is mainly because of my background in 2D painting and casting – an art form in between 2D and 3D. Porcelain is also about surfaces, since I deploy only slip casting techniques, which consist in copying the surface of an object and then applying a thin layer of liquid porcelain.


The focus on surface also has to do with the viewing experience of architecture: we are only exposed to the surface of a building from the outside. Moreover, in Taiwan I also started focusing on the ornamental side of architecture. I think surfaces and ornaments are more of an ‘East Asian approach’ to art; even in paintings we focus on the surface rather than the spatial depth and perspective rules that define Western paintings. My drawings Cloud City are more ornamental and decorative than my usual practice. I normally take inspiration from marble, stone or mineral patterns, while this time I wanted to make more ornamental drawings, inspired by Taiwanese decorative patterns such as the traditional flowery textiles.


Yumiko Ono, Cloud City 2, 2019, pencil on tracing paper. Courtesy of the artist.

Yumiko Ono, Cloud City, 2019, pencil on tracing paper. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: Utopia is a concept that features strongly in your research and oeuvre. Its etymology derives from the ancient Greek ou-topos (no-place) as well eu-topos (good place). Utopia thus stands for an ideal society that cannot be realised, an impossible dream or a nowhereness. In your recent work, Utopia (2018) you seem to give structure and solidity to this concept. Can you tell me more about this work and your personal understanding of utopia?

Y: Utopia (2018) is a work consisting of 196 abstract porcelain cubes which stands for the number of countries in the world according to the Japanese government. I made all of the cubes in the same size and weight by precisely controlling the thickness of the porcelain. Perhaps because I am from Japan, a small and isolated country with little influence in global politics, my ideal world entails no power balance.


My idea of utopia was highly influenced by Soviet architecture and the writings of Thomas More as well as Chinese poet Tao Yuanming. In a nutshell, utopia is an imaginary place which does not exist; however I relentlessly keep looking for it.


Yumiko Ono, Utopia, 2018, porcelain. Courtesy of the artist.

M: I am extremely fascinated by the relationship between utopia and architecture, so I apologise if I might linger a bit on this one! The buildings of ex-Soviet states convey a vision of utopian equality and promised happiness. However, as you mentioned before, these buildings also promote societal standardisations, being often symbols of coercive and oppressive regimes. In fact, we cannot deny that architecture is entrenched into the machinery of power and represent the emblem of the ‘body politic’. What is the relationship between architecture, politics and utopian space in your oeuvre?

Y: I think architecture is the grandest art format, so it is certainly related to politics. Especially in former USSR states, architecture represented the embodiment of the socialist ideal and the leader.

I wouldn’t say my oeuvre necessarily focuses on politics, but I do include political elements into account. For instance, I made a porcelain series titled Lenin (2017-2019). However, I was mainly interested in the idealisation of his persona since he was the first individual to realise the political concept of utopia. What is interesting to me is that despite statues of Lenin ubiquitously occupy many public spaces in Russia, his memory is gradually fading. It is the same for buildings: they exist but, devoid of original meaning, their historical significance falters. They are like ghosts or clouds.


I also employ political elements in order to highlight similarities between different countries. For instance, Pan City 10 draws on the correspondences between architecture in the US and ex-USSR states. I am more interested in associating these historical adversaries by recreating a harmonious fusion instead of an opposition.


M: In my understanding, utopian visions often resemble dystopian thought. The idea of dystopia developed in response to utopia; it envisions a society which only on the surface appears as utopia while its people actually live under repressive social control systems, government coercion, standardisation and technological manipulation. I am thinking, for instance, of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World which unites utopia and dystopia without clear boundaries between the two: one entails the other. How do you understand the boundary between utopia and dystopia in your art practice? Do you also intend to represent dystopia?

Y: This is actually a Western understanding of utopia, which originates from the socialist political idea that utopia and dystopia are two faces of the same coin: control. In East Asia, the notion of utopia originates instead from the tale of the Peach Blossom Spring by Chinese poet Tao Yuanming: a heavenly place of harmony and happiness divorced from political and mundane matters. I am more interested in representing this dreamy and fictitious sensation in my art. This kind of utopia also entails a negative side since it cannot exist in reality. However, I wouldn’t call it a ‘dystopia’, as dystopia only happens if someone tries to actualise the ideal of utopia – and I have no intention to do so.


M: Your art is so inspiring, it conveys very interesting concepts while revealing a gracious understanding of the materials. The show orchestrates an ethereal dialogue between architectural structures, taking the viewer into a journey to virtual space. You are the first artist selected for the programme Taipei Artist Village X MOCA. How would you comment on this experience? What are your future plans?

Y: It was a great programme! It is a collaboration between Taipei Artist Village (TAV) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei (MOCA) and consisted in an artist residency at TAV for three months, while working with curators at MOCA towards a solo exhibition in the museum. I actually just had a month and a half to prepare the show and had to meet several deadlines, so initially it was pretty stressful. But it was a fantastic achievement since it didn’t just entail the outcome of my residency but a wider perspective on my art. For instance, I had the time to reflect deeply on the curatorial aspect and the way to present my works into a museum space. It was really good for my practice. It was my first solo show in a museum, so I feel very excited for it!


I am now preparing a show in Vietnam for January, so I am still working hard. I will then go back to New York.



大野由美子個展《縮影》藝術家訪談


藝術家帶路 | 台北國際藝術村: 駐地藝術家專訪

採訪人: Maria Dolfini( 以下簡稱M )

藝術家: 大野由美子( 以下簡稱Y )

中文翻譯: 鍾盈盈

藝術家簡介

大野由美子是一位日本出生的藝術家,現今生活創作於紐約。曾於蘇聯等前社會主義國家生活近十年,這些國家的建築給她的作品帶來了巨大影響。她的創作常藉由瓷器、繪畫、紙質雕塑等精巧易碎的素材探索烏托邦的概念,並透過結合不同文化背景下的建築視覺元素,試圖建構出一個和諧統一的世界:一個烏托邦式的建築。大野由美子是台北國際藝術村的駐村藝術家,個展〈縮影〉目前正於台北當代藝術(MOCA)展出,展期至2020年2月2日。


Yumiko Ono, Epitomes, MOCA Taipei. Exhibition view. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: 首先,你能先為大家介绍一下自己嗎?有著非常有趣背景的你,曾於好幾個國家生活,並學習不同專業,在國外的經歷對你的藝術實踐有什麼影響?

Y: 我曾在日本京都靜岡大學學習油畫,當時我受到文藝復興時期義大利畫家如皮耶羅·德拉·弗朗切斯卡( Piero della Francesca)的強烈啟發。而有次在威尼斯舉辦的一場罕見巴爾蒂斯(Balthus)畫展則是我來到歐洲的動力。在環遊歐洲大陸之後,我愛上了東歐,因為東歐的文化和藝術似乎與日本有著許多相似之處。例如,匈牙利電影導演貝拉塔爾(Béla Tarr)緩慢又淒涼的電影風格讓我想起日本的卷軸畫;而匈牙利前衛畫家蒂沃道爾·克斯客卡·客奇瓦里(Tivadar Csontvéry Kosztkaso)則喚起了我對日本浮世繪風格的記憶。因此,我決定留在在匈牙利學習幾年。之後我搬到布拉格,完成了一個前衛藝術相關的碩士學位,在攻讀碩士期間我主要以裝置藝術與鑄件技法來試驗我的藝術創作。


接著,我在以色列的耶路撒冷和倫敦之間忙碌了幾年時間,最後在俄羅斯開始了我人生第二個碩士課程,而這次則是陶藝!我一直對瓷器這一個媒介很感興趣,但我不是那麼喜歡日本陶器的風格:它太厚太重,而且總是接近自然的大地色。但俄羅斯則是相反,俄羅斯的陶器非常精緻。在俄羅斯,我曾經在聖彼得堡的帝國瓷器製造場( Imperial Porcelain Factory)與有名的陶藝家卡濟米爾·謝韋里諾維奇·馬列維奇(Kazimir Severinovich Malevich)一起製作瓷器。而現在我則是住在紐約,儘管我仍然四處旅行。


關於我的作品,主要的脈絡是圍繞著烏托邦和烏托邦式建築而開展的。在匈牙利、捷克和俄羅斯等前社會主義國家生活的期間,我從它們的歷史建築結構中得到見證,並慢慢開始研究這個主題。然而,每一個地方的經歷都對我的藝術實踐產生了影響,我不再覺得自己是日本人,也不認為自己屬於任何一個地方:或是我根本就屬於任何地方。我的作品描繪了我想像中的建築、城市與世界,但在有形的現實中這些都是不存在的,這是我不斷移動之後產生的結論。



M: 回到你的原點,你經常說日本是一個介於“東西之間”的地方,同樣受到東亞傳統和美國文化的影響。另一方面,你也常把日本與前蘇聯社會主義國家做一個連結,這很有趣,因為通常基於政治、歷史和戰後同盟的關係,日本通常是被區別於前社會主義和共產國家如蘇聯、中國之外的。你能為我們說明一下你的看法嗎?

Y: 我其實認為日本是一個“相對成功的社會主義”國家。二戰之後,美國重建了日本,改革了日本的社會結構,造成頂端權貴富豪的消失,此舉壯大了中產階級的形成,成功縮小了貧富差距。這一個時期甚至被稱為“一億總中流”,是一種普遍的國民意識,意思就是說大部分的人都自認自己是中產階級。


而東歐前社會主義國家人民的社會行為實際上與日本非常相似:我們皆服從制度。事實上,日本社會偏愛形式主義、秩序主義和社會標準化,這些特點在其他社會主義國家是很容易被聯想到的。也許就是因為這些相似的經歷,包含歷史損失和殖民主義,以及不知何故地大家總是服膺於一個強大的國家機器之下使我們產生共同點。唯一的不同之處在於,日本從未真正有過一個強大的獨裁者,相反地,大家都非常努力的去追求一致,追求看起來相同。


這樣理想的“一致”在日常生活和建築中也可以看到。我以前很喜歡看這些國家的閱兵儀式和欣賞壁板建築。我對於在一個既定的框架內累積不同元素很感興趣,而這肯定是受到前蘇聯國家和日本建築中結構有序、標準化風格的影響。



M: 你認為台灣和日本有什麼相似之處?你是否也將台灣定義為一個介於東西方之間的地方?

Y: 相較之下,我認為台灣更像是一個介於“東方和遠東”之間的地方。剛到台灣的時候,我主要是把台灣視為一個中日文化之間的橋樑,同時它也具有一些西方文化資產的味道。台灣因其地理位置和殖民歷史文化有著複雜的身份認同,但這些外來刺激與本土文化完美的融合,才因此成就了台灣文化的獨特性。



Yumiko Ono, Epitomes, MOCA Taipei. Exhibition view. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: 你目前正在進行你於台北國際藝術村的駐村,並現正舉辦位於台北當代藝術館MOCA的個展〈縮影〉,你能介紹一下此次在台灣的專題以及展覽中的重點作品嗎?

Y: 最初我的計畫是利用台灣的建築元素來創造一個烏托邦式的地方,一個想像中的建築。但在經過幾次實地考察歷史建築之後,我意識到沒有一個絕對的、統一的、有凝聚性的“台灣建築”;因此意識到這是一個錯誤的途徑。台灣建築經歷了不同的發展階段,由不同元素一同創造了台灣風格。我在展覽中的作品,是作為對這些想法的回應所成立的,展覽中的〈雲街〉系列與紙紮系列〈立面〉都是我在台灣看到的建築所組成的混合體。而另外,展覽中的〈泛·都會〉則是結合了美國野獸派建築與俄羅斯建築元素的創作。


展覽並沒有什麼單一的重點部分,反而是繪畫、塑紙、瓷器鑄件的相互轉換以及相互支撐。我不僅透過在單一作品中描繪不同的建築元素,而且每件作品也都能被當成是建築的一部分,就像展覽本身就是一個大建築一樣。有趣的是,在創作中我並沒有涉及到”貨真價實的建築“,而是使用其他媒材,是關於不同元素、文化和身份的解構及重建,以此去重塑一個烏托邦、一個難以捉摸的世界。我想這就是烏托邦,因為它只存在於我的想像和藝術之中。


Yumiko Ono, Epitomes, MOCA Taipei. Exhibition view. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M: 烏托邦式建築如何代表當代台灣?亦或者是如何作為一個藝術性的解決方案或表現手段?原本用來獻給死者的紙紮作品及其結構是如何融入其中的?

Y: 如我前面所說的,由於殖民歷史和地理位置的關係,台灣受到許多層次的文化影響,另外台灣本身還有強大原住民文化的存在,因此我想把這樣的台灣性和烏托邦概念重疊起來,以兩個主軸:“混和性”和“無地性”的概念來創作。我並不想否認台灣的獨特性及其存在,而是我認為比起缺席、空無,我的藝術更多的是關於再現其在場。這是關於多樣空間及文化的再造,並補綴每個小層面。我是外國人,很顯然地我沒有什麼權利認真談論台灣;而事實上此次的展覽也更多的是關於自己感興趣主題的一個實踐,並不涉及其他歷史和政治主張。我個人的身分認同屬於不同的維度空間,而台灣則是我探索這些問題和烏托邦概念很好的一個場所。


我的紙紮雕塑作品〈立面〉(2019)就是我探討短暫的、一時性建築很好的例子。紙紮來自道教傳統文化,旨在為往生者建造一座紙屋並透過焚燒將其獻給往生者。我真的被這種做法給迷住了!最初我對在地傳統色彩鮮豔的紙紮屋很感興趣,但實際上我並沒有很喜歡那些圖案和質感。因此,我與台北的一家現代紙紮公司合作,然後把它們做成了紙質結構。我選擇白色是因為我喜歡保持原材料的顏色,它具有一種中立的感覺,更重要的是,白色在我的腦海裡著實具有烏托邦的概念:它精緻、充滿活力、並具未來感。

Yumiko Ono, Façade, 2019, paper. Courtesy of MOCA Taipei.

M: 我對你選擇的媒材很感興趣,你為什麼選擇用紙和瓷器來表現建築?雖然建築是一門重視穩定、權力和秩序的學問,但瓷器卻傳達出脆弱純淨的理念,總是處在碎裂邊緣。另外,在解構和改造建築,使之成為混合的陶瓷結構時你意圖表達什麼?在我看來,你似乎是在試圖揭露隱藏在不同文化與堅硬建築形式中那些混雜的脆弱性的概念。

Y: 我喜歡並且欣賞如建築那樣強大的媒材:它是如此勢不可擋、氣勢恢弘,堅固又理性。但我並不是一位建築師,我沒有受過建築設計的訓練,我也並不打算。事實上,如果我建造了一座建築,就形成了一個存在,但我對不可能存在的世界更感興趣,那也就是烏托邦。這也是我在創作時使用非建築材料和非建築尺寸的原因。以瓷器和紙作為媒介的話,就會傳達出一種柔軟脆弱卻有活力的感覺,符合幻想世界中的烏托邦,我想創造出一種軟建築,而非真實建築的堅固嚴密。


此外,使用其他媒介也給了我更多的自由:我從單一建築中獲得我喜歡的東西,並將不同的視角融合到一個結構之中。所以,我想像中的建築結構是完全不可能被構建的,很有趣吧,一種無法實際被建造出來的建築。


Yumiko Ono, Pan-City 10, 2019, porcelain. Courtesy of the artist.

M: 來自不同建築和文化的建造和解構過程在你的繪畫系列〈雲街〉(2019)中尤其明顯,而這個系列目前也在台北MOCA展出。這些畫很精確,幾乎讓人可以想像出未來派烏托邦的結構,非常漂亮!你能告訴我更多關於這件作品的創作過程嗎?為什麼你只關注建築的表層而不是內部結構呢?

Y:〈雲街〉系列來自我在台灣拍攝的建築物照片,它們有著不同的紋理和圖案。我用這些當作樣本在紙上畫出一個架構的融合圖。我先畫出結構,接著再用受到台灣美學所啟發的圖案當作填充。


實際上,展覽中的所有作品都只複製了建築物的外層,不包含內部。這主要是來自我在2D繪畫和陶瓷注漿方面的背景。我認為我的陶瓷作品介於2D和3D之間,而他們是與表層有關的,因在技法上我運用了注漿成型的方式複製物體表面,最後再塗上一層薄薄的液體瓷。


我認為關注表層這件事與建築中的觀景體驗相關,因為我們只能從外面看到建築物的表層。而此次在台灣的經驗也讓我開始關注建築的裝飾性層面。我認為表層和裝飾品更多的是關於一種“東方亞洲的藝術方法”,例如在繪畫中我們關注的是平面表面,而不是定義西方繪畫的深度空間和透視法規則。我這次的作品〈雲街〉比我平時的創作更具觀賞性和裝飾性。在創作過程中,我通常從大理石、石頭和礦物圖案中獲得靈感,而這些反而讓我在這次的創作裡頭想嘗試更多裝飾性繪畫,想法則啟發自台灣的傳統花卉紡織以及其他的裝飾性圖案。


Yumiko Ono, Cloud City 2, 2019, pencil on tracing paper. Courtesy of the artist.

M: 烏托邦是一個在你的研究和作品中反覆出現的強烈概念。它的詞源來自古希臘的ou-topos(無地)和eu-topos (好地)。因此烏托邦其實是代表著一個無法實現的理想社會,一個不可能實現的夢想或是一個沒有的地方。在你近期的作品〈烏托邦〉中你似乎給這個概念賦予了結構以及堅實性,能跟我們分享更多關於妳個人對烏托邦的理解以及這件作品嗎?

Y:〈烏托邦〉(2018)是一個由196個抽象陶瓷立方體所組成的作品。根據日本政府的統計數字,這些立方體的數量代表了全球196個國家。我透過精確的控制,把所有瓷器作品都做成同樣的大小、厚度及重量。這也許是因為我認為我來自日本,一個在全球政治中只擁有些微影響力、被隔離的小國家,但在我的理想世界中並不需要任何力量的平衡。而我的烏托邦思想則是深受蘇聯建築和作家托馬斯·摩爾(Thomas More)以及中國詩人陶淵明的影響。簡而言之,烏托邦就是一個虛構的地方,它不存在,但我仍然努力不懈地找尋它。


Yumiko Ono, Utopia, 2018, porcelain. Courtesy of the artist.

M: 我對烏托邦和建築之間的關係非常著迷,所以請容許我在這一點多往下追問一些!前蘇聯社會主義國家的建築傳遞了一種烏托邦式的平等觀,並承諾大眾幸福。然而,正如你之前所提到的,這些建築實際上促進了社會標準化的風格,形成強制和壓迫性政權的象徵。事實上我們不能否認,建築是根深蒂固的權力機器,是“政治體”的象徵。在妳的作品中,建築、政治和烏托邦空間之間的關係是什麼?

Y: 我認為建築是最偉大的藝術形式,所以它肯定與政治有關。特別是在前蘇聯社會主義國家,建築就是社會主義理想和領袖的體現。但我不認為我的作品一定只要關注政治,但我的確有將政治因素考量其中。例如,我曾經製作了一個名為列寧的瓷器系列,但實際上我主要是對他的理想化人格感興趣,因為他是第一個實現烏托邦政治概念的人。我關心的是,儘管列寧的雕像在俄羅斯的許多公共場合隨處可見,但有關它們記憶卻在逐漸消失。建築也是一樣的,它們存在,但不主動具備任何原始意涵,他們的歷史意義會動搖,就像鬼也像是雲。


我也運用政治元素來強調不同國家之間的相似之處。例如〈泛·城市〉借鑑了美國和前蘇聯社會主義國家建築間的相對應關係,我更感興趣的是如何透過重建其和諧的融合來連結這些歷史對手,而不是對立。


M: 在我的理解中,烏托邦也常常與反烏托邦的思想相關。反烏托邦思想是基於烏托邦的概念發展起來的,它設想的是一個表面上看起來是烏托邦的社會,但其人民實際上是生活在壓制性的社會控制系統、受到政府的脅迫、標準化及技術控制之下。例如,我想到的是阿道斯·赫胥黎( Aldous Huxley)的〈美麗新世界〉(Brave New World),它把烏托邦和反烏托邦結合起來,兩者之間沒有明確的界線,也就是一個包含了另一個。在你的藝術實踐中,你如何理解兩者之間的界線呢?你也試圖去代表反烏托邦嗎?

Y: 這實際上是西方對烏托邦的一種理解,它源於社會主義政治思想,即烏托邦和反烏托邦是同一枚硬幣的兩面,而這枚硬幣就是控制。但在東亞,烏托邦的概念源於中國詩人陶淵明的桃花源故事:一個遠離政治和世俗的和諧幸福天堂。相較之下,我對於在我的藝術實踐中表現這種夢幻和虛構的故事更感興趣。不過這種烏托邦也有其消極的一面,那就是它並不存在於現實之中。然而我不會就稱之為“反烏托邦”,因為只當有人試圖實踐烏托邦的理想時,反烏托邦才會發生,而我無意這麼做。



M: 你的藝術非常具啟發性,不只傳遞了有趣的概念,同時也揭示了你對各種媒材的雅緻理解。你的展覽就像在建築的架構之間安排了一場空靈的談話,並邀請觀眾一同進入虛擬空間旅行。你也是第一位入選台北國際藝術村x MOCA台北當代藝術館共同專案的藝術家,你對這次的經驗有什麼感想呢?未來還有什麼其他計畫?

Y: 我認為這是一個很棒的專案!這次的專案是台北國際藝術村與台北當代藝術館MOCA的共同計劃的,由台北國際藝術村提供藝術家駐村,同時又與MOCA台北當代藝術館的策展人合作,一起舉行展覽。事實上,我只有約一個半月的時間準備展覽,而且還得在好幾個單位給我的截止日期前完成,所以我一開始壓力真的很大。但這對我來說是一個很了不起的成就,因為它不僅展現了我的駐村成果,同時也給了我的藝術更寬廣的視角去思考。例如我有充分的時間去深入瞭解策展思維以及如何將我的作品與博物館展示空間相結合,這對我的藝術實踐有很多幫助!而且這也是我在博物館的第一個個展,所以我非常興奮。


未來計劃的方面,目前我正在準備我一月份在越南的展覽,所以我仍在努力工作。在一切結束之後我就準備返回紐約。


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