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The exhibition of installation “5” by Marc Blake and Ko Masuda recently took place at BankArt Studio NYK. BankArt Studio NYK was built this year to enhance communication and creativity of the city and artists. This effort is a part of Yokohama city’s cultural project, and BankART Studio NYK is administrated by BankART 1929. BankArt1929 is a renovated old bank building from the 1920s, established to provide space for various artistic expressions. The building of BankArt Studio NYK is a refurbished warehouse that once belonged to the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line). The gallery boasts 1,600 square metres of exhibition space and studios for various uses. The studio is open to everyone. Available spaces are provided after artists go through a series of regulatory steps.

With this “open” concept and studio space, Ko Masuda and Marc Blake created a series of works and exhibited an installation at the end of their studio residency. They both worked in the same studio, but each artist used different tools. Ko used chisels while Marc used pencils for the artworks. At the entrance of exhibition hall, their two months of work was presented in a clear box; shavings of Ko’s chisels and Marc’s pencils. We can actually view the artists’ experience and the memories of space.

Ko Masuda studied Fine Arts in New Zealand. He also has been trained as a Shingon buddhist monk. His works reflect his world view and both quite different experiences from New Zealand and Buddhism are blended into his works.

His works remind us of wood engravings because of its uses of lively colors and chiseled lines on a two-dimensional canvas. At first sight, it seems chaotic and there is no top or bottom in his work. In addition, it is viewable from four different positions so viewers can approach differently from each position. Some find faces of men and others see imaginary animals in Ko’s complex paintings. Ko made most of the works alone but he also made several collaborative pieces with Marc.

Marc Blake made series of works in film and paintings in New Zealand. He then moved to Japan for a new perspective. In this exhibition, he made paintings, installations, and video works that seemed to have a common theme “memory.”

In one of short films that he made titled “Neo-comic,” his reference to the theme “memory” was strong. Scenes in the movie are obviously from Japan and familiar for us. However, there are some differences in the scenes that puzzle us to find where exactly they are. It perplexes us that we are watching scenes that are completely foreign to us. In the latter half of the movie, we see a scene of a pastoral landscape. The scenery is very familiar to us and similar to the one in the countryside of Japan. It brings us to a distant place. I expect from the title that the artist is interested in Japanese culture, but his fascination with Japanese culture is not executed as ones that are prevalent in Hollywood SF movies. His representation of ordinary scenes evokes a different world like Wim Wenders’ “Tokyo-Ga”. However, “Neo-Comic” is certainly a different film. Memory of the characters in the movie and memory of the viewers were not in accord all the time, and it leaves a sense of discomfort in viewers.

This two-artist exhibition in BankArt Studio NYK created an opportunity for both artists to share the same studio and importantly space to interact their artistic inspiration and energy for their artworks.

There are other artists using studios and other facilities in BankArt Studio NYK. In addition, there are exhibitions and workshops going on every week. For current and future events, please check their website.

Marc Blake/Ko Masuda Exhibition
Date: 20th August, 2005, 19:00-22:30
Place: BankART Studio NYK
Address: 3-9 Kaigandori, Naka-ku, Yokohama
Tel: 045-663-4677

Text: Yasuharu Motomiya
Transrlation: Masanori Sugiura
Photos: Photoperformer Pas

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