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habiter l'écart
Alexandre Kato

9 January 2023 - 19 February 2023

Open: Mon-Fri 3-8pm
Close: Sat-Sun

Preview & Reception
3 January 2023 18:00-21:00

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2023 19 - 219

開場 月-金 (午後3-8時)
休場 土日

2023年1月3日 18:00-21:00



TANA Gallery bookshelf is pleased to present “habiter l'écart” [lit. Inhabiting In-between], a solo exhibition by Marseille-based French-Japanese artist Alexandre Kato. Changing a vacant space into a layered landscape made up of materialized personal and social memories, the exhibition plays with analogies of remote images and contexts while probing subtle cultural politics that surface through the warped mnemonic topography.

Calibrating his practice often within ambiguous in-between realms such as nature-culture, organic-artificial, material-semiotic, actual-virtual, and purity-hybridity, Kato explores complex formations of contemporary techno-cultural environments and reconfigurates found objects, signs and images into poetic visual language that enables us to reflect upon and communicate about otherwise-subliminal meanings in our immediate surroundings.

In his 2021 duo show “Kabin ni Ichi-rin no Hana” [lit. A Flower in a Vase] with Benjamin Kato, the precursor of this exhibition, Kato examined the question of exoticism and cultural appropriation by focusing on a conversation recollected in “Anti-Memoirs” (1968) by André Malraux, an autobiography by the French intellect and ministry of cultural affairs. Situated in the famous karesansui stone garden in Ryōan-ji, the the anecdote introduces a Japanese man, unfactually nicknamed “a Buddhist monk” due to his monklike hairstyle, quoted as telling the occidental author “Zen is a flower in a vase,” which is narrated as if the secret were disclosed by a legitimate authority through the characterization of a specific individual into a cultural category. While critically dissecting the process of appropriative assimilation of a cultural Other into the author’s own voice, Kato, being neither French nor Japanese exclusively, suspended essentialist condemnation on behalf of the orient. Instead, the exhibition re-materialized the politically charged exotic imagination in an actual space, by collecting French hygiene products with similar Zen-naturalistic imageries and using those products and exotic symbols to reconstruct a weirdly artificial Zen garden. Inviting audience to stroll in the resultant new techno-cultural landscape, the specific instance of asymmetric representation of the orient by the occident became a metaphorical framework to pose a broader, open-ended question to reflect upon our now globally shared attitude to Nature as the greatest cultural Other, which we, in an awkward contradiction, simultaneously assimilate as a concept and marginalize as a realty by the very act of semantic positioning.

Conceived as a further development of the idea behind the 2021 duo show, this exhibition “habiter l'écart” revisits the same Zen garden that once staged André Malraux’s implicit cultural politics, yet in a different way to project another imaginary garden there. With the artist’s own intimate memory playing the central role to reconstitute a new narrative in the now contested garden, the whole exhibition enacts a fictional encounter between the artist's father and André Malraux through the juxtaposition of two photographs. Squatting in a wasteland, the artist’s father in an aged original print is put amidst another picture of the Zen garden in which André Malraux is photographed walking along the edge somehow against prohibition, which enacted a theatrical moment as if executing a rite. Then the image of the father becomes the scale to modulate the arrangement and proportion of all the other elements that surround him in the hybrid space. Thus, together with the garden in background, the figure of André Malraux is scaled proportionally to that of the father so that the two persons are equally placed face-to-face in the new fictional garden. By proposing an encounter in this shared hybrid space, Kato seeks to create a narrative in which personal history interacts punctually with collective history. This encounter can also raise awareness of the problematic of crossbreeding in everyday life: a set of images, discourses and locations made up of gaps (l'écart) that nevertheless exist in the same place. Half hidden under a small stone that alludes to a rock in karesansui gardens, a pokemon card titled “Time-space Distortion” suggests the dynamics at work in the current exhibition and invites us to explore in-betweens that offer possibile spaces to inhabit in beyond explicit actualities in Cartesian universe and legitimate history.

The exhibition is co-hosted by ECHANGEUR 22, as part of the French artist-in-residence organization's intercontinental circulation program #MOBILITY, and developed upon the artist’s 2021 duo exhibition organized by Simon Horrenberger and Sawako Yoshida at Institute Français Yokohama. We would like to acknowledge our gratitude to the indispensable support to the artist provided by these institutions.


TANA Gallery Bookshelfはマルセイユを拠点とする日系フランス人作家アレクサンドル・カトウの個展「間に住む - habiter l'écart」を開催します。個人と社会の物質的記憶からなる複層的なランドスケープへと空間を変容させる本展は、それぞれ遠く離れたイメージやコンテキストのアナロジーと戯れながら、現実の空間とは異なる記憶の地形から浮上する微細な文化的政治のはたらきに探りを入れます。



この2021年の二人展の根底にあった思考をさらに展開するものとして、本展「間に住む - habiter l'écart」はかつてアンドレ・マルローの暗黙の文化的政治の舞台となった竜安寺石庭を再び舞台としながらも、そこにもうひとつの想像の庭を投影します。新たに政治性を帯びたこの庭に別の物語を再構築するための中心的な役割を作家自身の内なる記憶が担い、二枚の写真の並置を通じて展示の全体像はカトウの父とアンドレ・マルローのフィクショナルな対峙の場となります。どこかの荒れ地にしゃがんだカトウの父を写した古い一枚の写真は、本来なら立ち入りを許されない枯山水の縁をまるで儀式を行うかのように歩むアンドレ・マルローとともに写された竜安寺石庭の中心へと置かれます。この複合的な空間のなかで、カトウの父の写真はその周囲のあらゆる要素の配置と比率を律する基準となります。かくして、写真の中のアンドレ・マルローはカトウの父と同じ背丈になる縮尺へと背景の石庭とともに引き伸ばされ、二人の人物はこのフィクショナルな庭のなかで対等な存在として向かい合います。この複合的な空間での対峙を通じて、カトウは個人の歴史と社会の歴史が的確に相互作用する物語をつくりだそうとします。また、この対峙は、様々な隙間からなる複数のイメージや言説や場所性がひとまとまりとなって、なおも同じ座標に同時に存在しているという、日常における交雑的なものをめぐる問題系へと私たちの意識を促します。枯山水の岩を見立てた小さな石の下に見え隠れするポケモンカード「時空のゆがみ」は、本展に働くダイナミクスを示唆するとともに、単一の座標と正統な歴史における率直な事実性を超えて、「住む」ことを許す様々な空間の可能性を探ることへと私たちを誘います。



Alexandre Kato
Born in 1991 and currently based in Marseille, Alexandre Kato graduated from HEAR (La Haute école des arts du Rhin) in Strasbourg and has developed a range of artistic practice from writing to visual art. In 2018, Kato published his first book "La visite" (Marguerite Waknine). In 2020, Kato made his second text-based work "Untitled Garden" published online after artist in residence in Pollen, France. Kato has actively exhibited mainly in Europe. In Japan, he participated in "Parallèles // obliques" (2018) at Sumiyoshicho Arai bldg. in Yokohama, a group exhibition of Echangeur22 curated by Viviana Birolli and Tamura Masamichi, and "花瓶に一輪の花 [lit. A Flower in a Flower Vase]" (2021) at Zou-no-hana Terrace, a duo show with Benjamin Kato, curated by Institut Français Yokohama.



1991年生まれ、マルセイユを拠点に活動。ストラスブールのラン高等美術学校を卒業後、テキスト執筆やヴイジュアル・アートを通して自身の実践を発展させる。 2018年、初の著書『La visite』(Marguerite Waknine社)出版。2020年には、フランスのポーレンでのレジデンス滞在を経て、テキスト作品としては2作目となる《Untitled garden》をWebサイト上に展開。ヨーロッパを中心に精力的に作品を発表している。日本では 住吉町新井ビルでのEchangeur22グループ展「Parallèles // obliques」 (2018, キュレーター:Viviana Birolli & Masamichi Tamura) および 象の鼻テラスでのパンジャマン・カトウとの二人展「花瓶に一輪の花」(2021, キュレーター:アンスティチュ・フランセ横浜)に参加している。


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