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VOL. 1 / KENSUKE’S ROOM – Forever Mine
RESIDENCY: 25.11.19 – 13.12.19
EXHIBITION: 14.12.19 – 18.01.19
An exhibition by Kensuke Koike
Curated by Alessandra Chiericato
31, rue de l’université
75007 – Paris
Paris. In the afternoon of a warm autumn Sunday, among the stalls of a flea market, a picture is found by a Japanese artist, helplessly in love with the unknown woman portrayed.
This newfound image, appeared almost magically amongst thousands of pictures of unknown people – main cause of the feeling of mad love shaping his Parisian days – pushes the artist to discover what is concealed behind the beauty of the portrait by which he has been bewitched.
By gazing into the young lady’s face, by investigating her facial features with a Proust-like sort of attitude (big eyes dominating the frame, freckles gently marking the little nose, the alabaster skin standing out of the black background) the artist performs an attentive act of decomposition and re-composition, showcasing his in-depth knowledge not only of the woman but, first and foremost, of the photographic image, the archetype of his object of desire. Thus, by working on the different perspectives of the same photograph, the artist performs a dramatic act on the face of her beloved one. He cuts, decomposes and recomposes the image allowing every single detail to emerge.
His obsessive working process on the image may suggest much wider observations about the classic photographic portrait, unrealistically intended as an unfinished face, endlessly exposed to the ever-evolving glance of the artist. The obsessive search of details appears to be the only way through which his emptiness and his desire of romantic possession can be filled, a desire that can only be expressed by repetition.
Specifically, resemblance is not synonymous with reproduction, but it is just the hint of a rendition that solely exists in relation to its immediate perception and within the experience of the glance itself. In fact, every new portrait looks unique and identical to the original at the same time since — no matter how hard one tries to forget – the memory of our loved one always comes back to the surface.
Kensuke’s Room. Forever Mine is the story of the obsession for that archetypical object from which the artwork originates. The repetition, the elaboration of the portrait in multiple declensions, the infinite resonance of the image itself are, simultaneously, the symptom and the result of the artist’s drive. By keeping track of the numerous oscillations of his glance from one shape to the other, he demonstrates how behind the enigmatic attitude of every artwork the essence of the artistic intent is concealed. Kensuke’s Room. Forever Mine witnesses that a copy in not the exact replica of a model, but rather what is left of the relationship between the introspective glance of the artist and his subject.
Is it really possible to fully grasp the essence of an image? Perception, obsession, appearance, copy, double. These are just a few of the key words emerging when gazing into every single portrait and the installation as a whole.
All alone in his Parisian chambre de bonne, on the sixth floor of a house in rue des fosses Saint Jaques, the Japanese artist contemplates the fragments of the image that had initially seduced him and, having grasped the intrinsic nature of such seduction for a moment, he sighs: she is forever mine.
By Alessandra Chiericato
Translated from Italian by Nicholas Bertoli
Kensuke Koike is a Japanese artist that lives and works in Venice. By performing a manual transformation of the object, the artist deconstructs the photographic image and reveals its infinite possibilities. Kensuke seems to perform a surgical operation on these rediscovered objects, giving to us a re-reading of what we could include in today’s debate on media manipulation in the post-photographic era. So, where is the truth of the image hiding? Perhaps, only by vivisecting the photograph, only by recomposing it in one of its infinite forms, it is possible to arrive at revealing the essence of an image. Yet, together with its infinity and durability, when subjected to a clean and unrepeatable cut by the artist, the image becomes unique. Kensuke’s works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and can boast several important collaborations. Among the most recent, the solo exhibition curated by Carlo Sala “Tutte le immagini dormono” at Palazzo Zuckermann in Padova, and the “NO MORE NO LESS” book created together with Thomas Sauvin, among the finalists of Aperture Foundation Photobook.
SEPTIEME Gallery is a new iteration of the gallery – thoughtfully and purposefully disobedient, with an undercurrent of activism. This vision comes to life through the decompartmentalization of ideas and practices, the widespread international presence of their artists, the fostering of unexpected collaborations and openness to new encounters. The artists represented by the gallery share a sharp critical sense and a willingness to go beyond the confines of gesture, medium and thought through a universal language. In this way, they show a deep desire to be defined by their creations rather than being restricted by an identity. Together, they illustrate the increasingly dense diversity of the world around them by asking open questions for us to ponder.
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