Japan Society had the chance to sit down and talk with Hiraki Sawa, one of the 16 artists in the upcoming gallery exhibition "Bye Bye Kitty!!!" Hiraki Sawa was born in Kanazawa and wanted to be an artist from childhood, but a serious illness prevented him from submitting his portfolio to the major Tokyo art schools in time. Because he would have had to wait another year to resubmit, he decided to study in London, where he continues to work and live. While finishing an MFA in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, he became fascinated with computer animation and started to make videos that were characterized by incongruities of scale and content. At first he used his apartment as a set, and his earliest work, "dwelling" (2002), creates an initial impression of surprise and wonder as miniature airliners taxi along work tops, eiderdowns, and bathroom surfaces and loop around his domestic airspace. But soon the charm of this airborne choreography starts to strike a more anxious note: humor is accompanied by claustrophobia as more planes take off and proliferate, in an air-traffic controller’s nightmare. Resolution, and relief, comes when the planes, seen in silhouette against a windowpane, flies through the glass to join a "real" airliner in the distant sky. Sawa once described his working method as follows: "Fundamentally my videos are all ambiguous fabrications. As neither a documentary film-maker nor a photographer, I tend to be in limbo to start with, and insert lies in each piece as I go along. And when I say ‘lies,’ I don’t mean throwing in dramatic falsehoods, but finding ingenious ways to make things seem as real as possible."
- Mar 28, 2011 at 12:00 am