Koki Tanaka & Naotaka Hiro / Kaz Oshiro / John Tottenham

November 12 – December 11
 Taft, Catherine.  Koki Tanaka and Naotaka Hiro, Las Cienegas Projects.  Artforum International, February 2010.
 Taft, Catherine. Catherine Taft’s Top 10 Shows In Los Angeles: December 2010.  Saatchi Online Magazine, December 1, 2010.
 Grundy, Gordy. Laughing at the Artwork of John Tottenham. Huffingtonpost.com, December 3, 2010.
Schad, Ed. Deceiving the Eye: Kaz Oshiro and Steve Wolf: Part 1. ArtSlant, Los Angeles (www.artslant.com), December 13, 2o1o.

Main Gallery
Koki Tanaka: Random Hours, Several Locations
& Naotaka Hiro: Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain
(2-person show)
Koki Tanaka, still from Everything Is Everything, single channel version, 2006/2007. HDV transfered to DVD, 6 minutes and 21 seconds

Koki Tanaka: Random Hours, Several Locations

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Koki Tanaka’s new video/sculpture installation, Random Hours, Several Locations. Here, Tanaka takes 5 of his short performative videos, never shown in Los Angeles, and sets them amidst a sparse array of ubiquitous second hand furniture. The video works, which essentially ask us to consider looking from multiple viewpoints at universally basic actions such as how we use utilitarian objects or operate within our physical surroundings, are made all the more reflective set here amongst the articles, where Tanaka directs the viewer’s attention to bookshelf, bed frame, bench, table, and rack, and in the process imbues them with a more phenomenal presence.

Everything is Everything (2006-7), shot in several locations around Taipei city, consists of accumulated images of varied ways to use daily items: a mop is rotated by an arm, toilet paper flies by a fan, and a roll of aluminum foil is thrown from the stairs. Each and Every (2004) examines the complexities and essential nonlinearity in a day’s work of a Japanese cook. How to Draw a Line on the Road (2007), Turning the Lights on (2007) and Rooftop, Going up and Step down (2009) all look for alternative ways to approach, define or interpret the simple actions their titles imply. 

“Criss-crossing the personal with the universal is Tanaka’s style. He also happens to have an intuitive awareness of the energy of an everyday object, like an old lamp with its inherent memories, matched with an ability to shift that charge just by noticing its presence. He seduces us to pay attention as well.” (Amarie Bergman, from Turning the Lights On: Koki Tanaka at Centre A, White Hot Magazine, January 2008)

Koki Tanaka (b. 1975 in Tochigi, Japan) works primarily in site-specific video and installation, often taking a conceptual approach to explore everyday commodities and surroundings and create a visual sphere that challenges the mundane and rational embedded in the minds of viewers. He has shown widely in and outside Japan and the United States, including at the Mori Art Museum,Tokyo; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Taipei Biennial, Taipei; the Asia Society, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Tanaka was selected for the prestigious International Artist in Residency program at Palais de Tokyo in France in 2006, and is featured in Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture, a selection of 100 of the most significant emerging artists today (PHAIDON Press, 2007). He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Naotaka Hiro: Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain

Naotaka Hiro, production still from Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain, 2010.            Mixed media

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Naotaka Hiro’s Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain. Hiro’s work is firmly grounded in the concept of the unknown, including the world of one’s own body parts, which we are–in most circumstances– unable to see and thus unable to confirm. In all of his works, this dilemma of the unknowability of the body serves as a creative point of departure; a place “of unknown, blind, awe”.

Night and Fog, Tubes on Black Mountain is a continuation of Hiro’s previous Night and Fog series of video/sculpture, which dealt with disjuncture and the immortality of the body and was originally inspired by French filmmaker Alain Resnais’s gruesome Holocaust documentary Night and Fog (1955). This new installation consists of a video along with two bronze sculptures with gold patina, which are additionally used as sound instruments for the video.

Whereas in the previous pieces, Hiro composited a landscape comprised of various plastic stand-ins for body fragments, in this new work, Hiro now serves as a puppeteer of tube-stuffed meat, manipulating its movement as if it is an extension of the body and conjuring up images of wriggling intestines, extended genitals, and even unending excrement. The movement is recorded with a high-speed video camera at 210 frames per second. “His work, about bodily disconnection, is not subtle, nor does it spell out its “meaning.” It is poetic, difficult, and as unsettling as an earthquake of the three-to-four range on the Richter scale.” (Kathryn M. Davis, from Los Angeles: Capital of Contemporary Art?, THE Magazine, July 1, 2008)

Naotaka Hiro (b. 1972 in Osaka, Japan) currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He was educated at the Universitas Gadja Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 1996, and additionally holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Hiro’s most recent solo exhibitions include: Naotaka Hiro, The Box, Los Angeles (2008); Wrong Person, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2008); Knows Nothing, Misako & Rosen, Tokyo (2007); and Tokyo Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo (1999).

Project Space
Kaz Oshiro
Home Anthology 2
Kaz Oshiro, Dumpster (Yellow with Blue Swoosh), 2010. Acrylic on stretched canvas over panel and caster wheels, 43″ x 75 1/2″ x 33 1/8″ inches

Las Cienegas Projects is pleased to present Home Anthology 2, an installation of new painting works by Kaz Oshiro. Consisting of both an abstract and a representational painting, including a ‘Dumpster’ painting done at actual scale and volume, Oshiro’s acrylic and bondo, trompe l’oeil style works are done on box-shaped stretched canvases, and although sculptural, deal with the abstract qualities of surface and other traditional issues of painting: scuff marks, scratches, dust, finger prints and gooey marks on specific surface finishes, where, according to Oshiro, “All kinds of emotions are going on there and I’m attracted to painting them.”

Often 3-dimensionally depicting familiar objects or American subcultural artifacts such as Marshall amps, sticker-laden car bumpers, public garbage containers, and kitchen cabinets and appliances, Oshiro still insists on the importance of painting– as opposed to sculpture– in his practice and typcially reveals to the viewer the back side of the canvas on its stretchers as a reminder. Nonetheless, there is a coexistence of painting with sculpture, realism with abstraction, rational with emotional, pop with minimalism, and façade with reality that embodies these objects.

Kaz Oshiro (b.1967), has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1986. He has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris; Yvon Lambert, New York; and Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica. His work has also been exhibited at the Tate St Ives, Cornwall, UK; the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinati; the Asia Society and Museum, New York; the Orange County Museum, Newport Beach; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2008 his work was included in the Prospect.1 New Orleans. He holds a BA and MFA from California State University, Los Angeles.

Kaz Oshiro, Untitled Still Life (Abstract Painting in Turquoise, Duct Tape), 2010. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 20 1/2″ x 75 1/4″ x 19 1/2″

Back Room
John Tottenham
Paintings and Drawings
left- Passing Happy Hours, 2010.  Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches;  right- Walker #4, 2007.
Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches

Las Cienegas Projects is delighted to present a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by British artist and noted contemporary poet John Tottenham. Though mainly celebrated for his writing, Tottenham has quietly maintained a painting practice centered on figurative painting. This will be the first time these works have been shown in a contemporary art setting.

On display, set against elements of a Victorian salon-like environment, will be a series of small works on canvas inspired by early 20th century postcards: vulgar parodies of Victorian romantic scenes which hint at commentary on sexual politics; as well as a series of ‘walker’ paintings depicting female nudes holding prosthetic devices in sun-drenched rooms. A third series, entitled The Women in my Life, is composed of over a thousand bookmark-sized ink drawings on paper.

“Tottenham’s paintings and drawings of women with walkers are vulnerable characters searching merely for the strength to go on”, states artist and long-time friend Marnie Weber. “His ‘hand in mouth’ couples are smothering speech-filled hours in an attempt to create moments of silence, his thousands of drawings of women all carry a heartfelt beauty in the untrained manner in which they are rendered.” Weber adds: “I have both admired and been inspired by his outpouring of poetry, fiction, drawings and paintings over the course of time. I have witnessed firsthand his striving for acute honesty in perfectly aligning both language and pictorial imagery in order to create works of poignant beauty.”

After graduating from London’s worst art school in the mid-80s Tottenham moved to the United States and has resided here ever since, focusing mostly on literary endeavors, including art and film criticism. After many years of resistance, he finally sold out to the lucrative, fast-paced world of poetry, producing The Inertia Variations, an epic and ever-expanding poetic cycle on the subject of work-avoidance, indolence, failure and related topics. It was hailed as “a terrific collection” in the Guardian, “quiescent genius” by Mojo Magazine, and “comedy gold” in 3AM Magazine. A multi-media interpretation of the Inertias by English musician Matt Johnson (otherwise known as The The) is currently in production and a series of short 16mm films based on the work, directed by actor Adam Goldberg, will soon be making the rounds at film festivals.



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