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Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong
2014.11.26 Wed - 2015.01.10 Sat
Opening Exhibition
50 Connaught Road Central,
17th Floor,, Hong Kong
+852 3758 2180
Opening Hours
Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am - 7 pm

周二至周六, 上午11时至下午7时
Alice Lung 龙玉

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[Press Release]

Press release
Galerie Perrotin is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Japanese artist Makoto Aida in Hong Kong, opening on November 26.

The centerpiece for Aida’s inaugural exhibition with Galerie Perrotin is “Comet-chan” a new sculpture of a lithe, scantily-clad adolescent girl with a copy of the original fifteenth-century Gutenberg Bible in her left hand, and a page from that bible in her right hand, poised to wipe the remnants of a glowing pink turd protruding from her backside. According to Aida, the girl is an extraterrestrial being from outer space who had a sudden urge to relieve herself while passing over Earth, metamorphosing herself — somewhat ineptly — into a fluttery, doe-eyed human girl before chancing upon a copy of the Gutenberg Bible that she haplessly turns into toilet paper. Fusing a Rabelaisian love of bawdy humor and eschatological references with allusions to the otherworldly settings of Japanese science fiction, Aida’s “Comet-chan” mocks the supposed seriousness of science fiction, which has by now degenerated into cheap, sex-fueled, and sensationalist entertainment for the undiscriminating masses.

The exhibition will also feature another new video work where Aida, made-up and styled to evoke the staid conservatism of the Japanese Prime Minister, makes an impassioned plea during a major international conference for each and every country around the world to revive the system of sakoku (a closing off, or severe limiting of foreign trade and diplomatic relations) that Japan embraced during the Edo period. For this fictional minister, globalism is at the root of many evils facing the world today, and his plea for a return to isolationism is meant as a tool for achieving world peace. Reading aloud from a script in awkward, faltering English, the minister seems annoyed by his own ineptitude with foreign languages. Somewhat opposite in terms of tone and effect from Aida’s previous work “The video of a man calling himself Bin Laden staying in Japan” (2005), the sincere rage that filters through this speech contrasts with the offhand, cavalier attitude of the Bin Laden piece. Although not explicitly meant as a satire of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Aida’s caricatured performance makes this an indirect parody of Japanese politics, as well as a complex evocation of right and wrong, and of justice and evil, with respect to this man.

In conceiving these new works, Aida was careful to bear in mind that they would be presented alongside Sophie Calle, on the same floor. “Generally speaking, I don’t think these works go well with Calle. However, instead of showing something similar, I thought it would be more interesting to show something opposite or contrasting in effect. In her works, Calle focuses on the lives of existing individuals. My understanding is that she seeks to think of human beings in a universal way. For my own part, however, in both my everyday life and artwork, I try to stay far away from the individual perspective. I have a habit of placing human beings in a thought experiment that represents an extreme situation. To me, these are the two polarities when it comes to examining the human condition. And so I wanted to confront the audience with these two extremes on one floor”.

Aida’s work has won critical acclaim for its paradoxical mix of bawdy populism and sophisticated reflection in depicting the state of contemporary Japan. Domestic Japanese audiences, in particular, have shown a keen appreciation for the complexity of his vision — his mid-career retrospective “Monument for Nothing”, held at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2012, drew a record 490,000 visitors, while his most recent exhibition in Japan was held this summer at the Kirishima Open-Air Museum in Kagoshima prefecture.

With their nuanced exploration of universal issues that confront any number of contemporary Asian societies, Aida’s works promise to take on an additional dimension of complexity in this exhibition — his first solo presentation in Hong Kong.

The exhibition by Makoto Aida has been organized in collaboration with Mizuma Art Gallery.