Photography, theater, and mechanical engineering. Miwa Yanagi's world where myths and machines go hand in hand.


"Miwa Yanagi Exhibition: Mythical Machines" has begun at the Kanagawa Prefectural Hall Gallery.
Mr. Yanagi is a contemporary artist who became internationally acclaimed in the 1990s after releasing photographic works that made full use of CG and special makeup. In 2010, we began a full-scale theater project. He is one of the artists with deep ties to Kanagawa Prefecture, and he performed the outdoor play ``Wings of the Sun'' in the plaza of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse in the ``Stage Trailer Project,'' which was launched in the wake of the Yokohama Triennale 2014.

This exhibition, which is the first large-scale solo exhibition in 10 years, will include works such as ``Elevator Girl'' and ``My Grandmothers,'' as well as theatrical archives and a new work shot in Fukushima, ``Goddess and Goddess Under the Peach Tree.'' A large collection of works such as "We're Farewell" and "Mobile Theater Project" created for this exhibition. A big attraction for fans is that they can comprehensively view the evolution of contemporary artist Yanagi.

The theater archive is filled with original books, performance pamphlets, movies, and more. The exhibits in each corner are designed to be interesting and enjoyable even for those who are new to Yanagi Miwa.

This is the latest work "Mythical Machine". The “play” progresses as the main machine “Thaleia” plays music and lines while running. The machine was produced by the Mobile Theater Project, a collaboration between art and mechanical engineering universities, technical colleges, and high schools.

As part of the project, a live performance called ``MM'' (composed and directed by Miwa Yanagi) will be held on November 29th (Friday) and 30th (Saturday), an experimental stage performance in which machines and humans co-star.

《Interview with Miwa Yanagi》

What is the intention behind the title of this exhibition, “Mythical Machine”?

Originally called "deus ex machina " (*Editor's note: A production technique popular in ancient Greece, in which the contents of a play are intricately intertwined and a being (god) has absolute power when faced with a situation that is difficult to resolve.) A method of ending the story by solving the confusing situation at once.The "absolute being" is made to appear using a wooden crane, in other words, it is done mechanically, so it is also called the "mechanical god". I like it .
Normally, the tangled threads of a story should be unraveled at the end, but this is a very rough method (lol). No matter what situation humans find themselves in, it is the power of nature that cuts them off without hesitation. In Deus Ex Machina, machines take on that role. I have not been able to organize it well, but nature (= God) and machines are very similar.

The ``Myth Machine'' is an ``automatic performance device'' that permanently and automatically displays a ``drama'' that disappears the moment it is performed.
However, since it was a machine, I thought it would work properly if I programmed it perfectly, but in reality that wasn't the case, so I had a lot of trouble (lol).

``The goddess and the male god part under the peach tree'' was apparently filmed in an orchard in Fukushima.

At night, I set up my camera in a pitch-black peach field, and while lying on my back on the ground, I took a picture of the peach trees spreading above me. It is now a precious 8x10 film.
After about 90 seconds of exposure, when I shined a flashlight on the image, only the areas that were hit by the light were visible, but I ended up making a lot of mistakes because it was either too bright or pitch black. Since the lens is facing directly upwards, a light rain would be a no-no, and since it was a long exposure, even a slight breeze would be a no-no.

A work that enjoys coincidence?

That's not true. It's not like I'm showing a performance, and the photos have no meaning unless they stick. However, I gained a lot from the experience of lying on the ground and taking pictures. It was so dark that I was a little scared at first, but I really felt the softness of the ground. I realized once again that although a photograph can only leave what is fixed, it is not just about visual perception.
Although the camera is an optical device and a "machine" that symbolizes modern European values, it somehow manages to create magic realism (*Editor's note: an artistic expression that fuses the ordinary and non-existent. Also called fantastic realism). It produces. In that sense, I feel that machines and myths are close. Since technology interacts with pre-modern things, there will always be a connection somewhere.

To Europeans, peaches seem very oriental. Indeed, it may be a symbol of Oriental mythology, as it has been talked about as Xianguo since ancient times in China.
In contrast, apples appear in European mythology. In that sense, I would like to photograph apples next.

This event has ended.
Miwa Yanagi Exhibition Mythical Machine
MIWA YANAGI : Myth Machines
[Date and time] October 20th (Sun) - December 1st (Sun) 10:00 - 18:00 (Admission until 17:30)
[Venue] Kanagawa Kenmin Hall Gallery
[Closed] Thursday
[Fee] Adults ¥1,000, Students/Over 65 years old ¥700, High school students and under free, Persons with a disability certificate and one accompanying person free


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