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PEOPLEText: Ayumi Yakura

“123 Log” Tomohito Saito, 2015, 1,300 x 1,620 mm, Indian ink on canvas

What are you thinking when you draw “123”? The piece which over one million texts of “123” were written for two months was overwhelming. When I looked at it closely, I wondered how hard it is to create. But, when viewed from a distance, it became like a stratum or annual rings and made me feel calm. If I look at it from a longer way off, it changes the expression like stylish graphics, fabric, and a three-dimensional form. The variety created by only “123” is really interesting. You drew impromptu, right?

In one of traditional short stories, a centipede walks while thinking and his legs get tangled and cannot walk as a result. And, I think animals’ movement is beautiful because of the efficiency. When I draw, I don’t think anything. Rather I try not to think by watching videos and listening music. But, infinite images and words still show up in my mind. In such a case, I leave them as they are because I can’t do anything for that. Rather than thinking of what to draw, I draw the images that come to my head when I listen to the words I speak.

I had danced impromptu. So, I improvise pieces too because I want to use what I cultivated in dance. I also don’t draw preliminarily.  There is the beginning and immediately the end will come. It looks stylish for someone and for another it looks miserable or cool. Depending on each viewer, the piece can be seen as a stratum, rings, a bath mat, a half-dried fish, or just numbers.

I guess “effort” works interestingly as a filter. I mean, not a spiritual thing. I have different moments: impressive or funny when I see someone’s effort. I’m interested in the difference and change between them. Also, I like what gives a load to the body.

YUMENOKUNI Performance “Hakoniwa” MORIHICO Plantation GRENIER, Sapporo, 2013, Photo: Yixtape

Time during a theatrical performance is limited. On the other hand, there is time to make possible modifications for artworks. Is it true that you don’t have failed artworks?

No. Never.

You said you easily get tired of things you are doing. But, I feel perseverance from your pieces. You also post “123” drawings on Instagram like a diary. Are you not bored by that?

Honestly, I’m already tired. But, I keep posting because I understand there are overtones which only can appear in this way. Basically, I easily lose interest and I made excuses to quit many things. When I was in junior high, I bought a red electric guitar and quit playing soon after.

Tomohito Saito Exhibition “123” Chapter 2: A Man Continues Drawing, Clark Gallery + SHIFT, Sapporo, 2016 © Tomohito Saito, Photo: Jpeg Takeshi Oda

The title of the exhibition held at Clark Gallery + SHIFT until the end of April is “123” Chapter 2: A Man Continues Drawing. But, you have a string-like piece with no “123” on the center of the space.

Yes, that’s a recent work. So far I have treated “123” two-dimensionally and that one is based on the idea of three-dimensional expression. I tied and bound a piece of cord three times. I just repeated that. I just tied it again and again in the rhythm of “1, 2, 3”. I wonderfully succeeded to express “123” three-dimensionally and also visually. Quite simply, my change is from a body to two-dimension, and from two-dimension to three-dimension. It’s too simple, but that’s the only one way to explain.

Tomohito Saito Exhibition “123” Chapter 1, MORIHICO Plantation GRENIER, Sapporo, 2015 © Tomohito Saito, Photo: Jpeg Takeshi Oda

What is the difference between this exhibition and “123” CHAPTER 1, which was held from December 3rd, 2015 ?

For the first one, I more paid attention to how I could show my desire to express and create than how to show “123”. I think, as a result, it was really energetic. Chapter 1 could present that I and “123” were connected in the outside world.

For this time, I wanted viewers to reconsider about “123”. There are many series in “123”. I guess, by classifying them, I will be able to think “123” systematically. So, I hope viewers can share a mystery, not answers in this exhibition.

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