Ota Fine Arts Singapore presents new work by Japanese artist Tetsuya Umeda (b. 1980), in his second solo exhibition in Singapore entitled “Almost over, Always around“. From capturing environments, architectural structures, sound, light and human behaviour, the source of Umeda’s work ranges widely. He remodels installations out of daily products, engages viewers with his interactive performance pieces, and collaborates with musicians using his own originally produced implements. His works have been shown internationally at museums and galleries, as well as outdoor locations such as ruined buildings, lakes and mountain tops. A series of performances will be held in conjunction with the exhibition.
In “Almost over, Always around“, Umeda will present a site-specific installation recapturing the essential features of the gallery space and its surrounding environment, creating a piece that offers a realistic experience of the one-off moment. Producing the natural phenomenon of sound and light is Umeda’s expertise; his process of redefining the space based on information collected and traced from the environment could be argued as an architectural approach. Drawing from his stay in Singapore, collected scraps and daily commodities can be seen in his work and when these objects, with apparently simple structures, are combined with complex but repeated movements, they continuously alter the distinct character of the space. Human behaviour and reaction is also treated as a component of the work and the artist selects people who are already associated with the space to appear as extras. The audience is subconsciously guided to be involved in the installation piece, unaware that their actions have become part of it. Consequently, this also generates and highlights the performing aspect to his installations.
Similarly, in Umeda’s performances, at times ordinary materials such as ropes, cans and plastic bottles present unexpected expansion and occurrence to the viewer, caused by the combination of the simple effects of natural phenomena such as gravity and centrifugal force – the artist does not manipulate them in any specific manner. Every single breath-taking light, sudden accidental explosion and odd sound attributes to and engages in just some of his everyday behaviour. Thus, the boundaries of what we are watching and listening is blurred and our familiar scenery, possible accidents and audience’s behaviour will be merged as a part of the performance. This evolves to the realization of a unique experience of the performance, where the ordinary and the extraordinary cross and coincide only in that moment and in that space. The series of performances held in conjunction with “Almost over, Always around” are conceived with relation to Umeda’s experiences in Singapore, unique to the respective space and time.
- Tetsuya Umeda: Almost over, Always around, Ota Fine Arts, Singapore 2016. courtesy of Ota Fine Arts and the artist