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Site and Route
Hiroyuki Sakamoto
April 13 - April 30, 2018

Tana Gallerybookshelf, Kanda, Tokyo
Opening reception: Friday, April 13, TBA

Tana Gallery Bookshelf is pleased to present Tokyo-based artist Hiroyuki Sakamoto's first solo exhibition "Site and Route," featuring three new pieces of his "line" series. Combining 3D-printing and GPS technology in a unique way, the work offers a systematic yet open-ended method that transforms daily activities and urban fabrics into sculptural objects.

With his designer/architect-oriented mindset, and interest in "drawing uninterrupted and unintended line," Sakamoto focused on spontaneous mobility in our daily activity and designed a process to source his work from the inexhaustible moves of others out of his control. Named bluntly, his "line" work employs a free GPS service to track people moving for whatever purposes (commuting to work, shopping, etc.) and periods (one day or longer), snapping their inevitably continuous trajectories unconsciously drawn on the map. The resulting line alludes different characteristics of urban environments that afford the vehicle of GPS data to move from one place to another; pedestrian streets and alleys would contribute to relatively frequent turns, while public transport like subways would extend lines and curves traversing remote areas. Further combined with altitude information from another data source, the two-dimensional route becomes a three-dimensional model to be 3D-printed into a tangible object that resembles a convoluted thread.

This working process is designed applicable to any period and scale, and can be output in any size and material as far as technically feasible. This exhibition showcases three pieces made in Tokyo by three participants with different settings. One may enjoy just tracing the abstract shape of each resulting piece or imagining narratives behind it.

Sakamoto's "line" automates the production of unique pieces, each in a particular form sculpted out of the external world, an abstraction of a specific series of factualities out there. It simultaneously derives and deviates from the origin, as the end product contains all the factors that have shaped up the form, even including unreal ones like losses and glitches that would distort the data model in its collection and conversion processes. Thus no longer with any exact correspondence to refer back to in the real, it rather takes up a new ontological standpoint free of the original/derived hierarchy. In its own right, the work reconciles multiple layers of inter-object networks and translates them again into the dynamism of a unique single line, which maintains only metaphorical relationship to the source, except to the singularity of its own structure. Not fully abstract nor representational, nor just expressive of life-world phenomena, this work amplifies a twist in all kinds of map/mapping with varying degrees, the impossibility of undistorted representation, and employs it as a constructive element for new site/non-site relations in the lineage of site-specific art. Also under the minimalist visual aesthetics of Sakamoto's work lies a firm link to the most essential questions of conceptual art, namely its critical approach to the nexus of the ontological and epistemological.

Sakamoto's search for unbroken and unthought drawing successfully evades the trap of his own unconsciousness, rejected as still confined to "habits of my own body," in the absence of which his ludic exploration of others' becomes possible. Replacing his own agency with anonymous others, relocating the act of drawing from a hand on paper to a body situated in urban or greater frameworks, and embodying the otherwise-unreal into real objects, Sakamoto maps out an ambiguity on the periphery of the world as we know, inviting us to revisit it through different routes, scales and layers.

Hiroyuki Sakamoto

This exhibition is held also as part of RESIDENCE ECHANGEUR 22, a residence program exploring the theme of mobility. In addition to its regular international artist-in-residence, its Tokyo 2018 round includes local projects exploring mobility to various degrees to examine its meanings and potentials in broader contexts.

TANA Gallery Bookshelf
Chiyoda, Kanda Jinbocho, 2 Chome-20, Daini Fuji Building