Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda live and work in Berlin and have collaborated for over ten years, having met at the Frankfurt Städelschule in 2002. In Japan, they are known for their first artists book “Hans Ulrich Obrist Interviews Volume 1,” (Walther König / 2010), a Japanese translation of the interviews, and for their participation in “Roppongi Crossing 2016” (Mori Art Museum, Tokyo / 2016). Their work critically and self-reflexively explores the institutional and social milieu of art, often setting forth with irony and humor the peripheral stories surrounding its making and dissemination.
In 1963, Teruo Nishiyama visited the 15th Yomiuri Independent exhibition with his best friend. He was deeply impressed by the show, and began thereafter to attend, on his own, performances and exhibitions of avant-garde art, including those by the Neo-Dada Organizers and Tokyo Fluxus. Nishiyama became an avid fan of the Japanese avant-garde; despite not having personal contacts in the art world, he witnessed many of the emerging radical art events of the time. He also meticulously documented everything he saw in photographs and copious written notes, as well as by collecting ephemera. When Nishiyama’s career took him from Tokyo to Okayama, he preserved the material he had assembled over the course of two years in a scrapbook album. Today, this documentation, which Nishiyama made for purely personal reasons, has become an unlikely source of information for art historians, insofar as it is, in some cases, the only remaining record of historically significant events.
Last year, Chung and Maeda came across the scrapbook at the Keio University Art Center, where it had been temporarily stored at Nishiyama’s request. Chung and Maeda selected and reprinted 10 photographs from the book, presenting them as “Untitled” (2016) in “Roppongi Crossing.” For the occasion of their exhibition at statements, the artists have edited a complete facsimile edition of the original scrapbook, which they present here alongside two related collage works.
The first volume of the new publication depicts the exhibitions Nishiyama attended in Tokyo from 1965 to 1966. In the second volume, Chung and Maeda have attempted to follow Nishiyama’s methods and approach to art. The book depicts documentation by Chung and Maeda of various exhibitions held in Tokyo from January 17th to February 3rd, 2017. The third volume includes an English translation of the notes in the Nishiyama’s scrapbook, as well as an interview with Nishiyama by Chung and Maeda. The complete set will be issued as an artists book in a limited edition of 500.
The two collages on display in the gallery are made with materials related to the making of the two scrapbooks: “Untitled (arrows)” (2017) duplicates the arrows Nishiyama drew in his scrapbook to notate the names of the individuals in his photographs; “Untitled (logos)” (2017) consists of logos cut from recent gallery press releases collected in Tokyo.
Artist: Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda
Venue: statements, Tokyo
Exhibition title: Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda x Teruo Nishiyama 2017
Date: May 13 – June 18, 2017
Text (press release) and images provided by the event.
© Jay Chung; Q Takeki Maeda; statements, Tokyo, Japan.