Could you guide me around? 'Cause I'm just a tourist from Japan.
May – August 2001
Iwai's project for IASKA consists of three inter-related works:
The first work is a mail-art project. Shortly after his arrival Iwai produced a series of 8 postcards of Kellerberrin and sent them to friends and colleagues overseas. The postcards were intended to capture ‘typical’ aspects of the locale seen through the eyes of an outsider from a very different culture. The artist invited his international addressee to reply by writing a short text that described their impressions of the town, of which they knew only the single image reproduced on the postcard sent to them. Cards and written comments were subsequently displayed side by side on the gallery walls.
The second work is based on a series of meetings and conversations between the artist and 20 town residents. Iwai met with the interviewees – who varied in gender, race, class and age - in their own homes and invited them to talk about their everyday lives. For the exhibition the artist selected short excerpts form these conversations, printed them on pieces of red cloth which he then laid over the chairs used by the interviewees during their meetings with the artist. In the gallery the draped chairs formed a circle in middle of the exhibition space, and this display was complemented by a series of wall-mounted signs with short texts in which the artist conveyed his impressions and feelings about his meetings with the locals.
The exhibition is completed by a slide projection showing juxtaposed photographic images of Kellerberrin and Tokyo.
The simplicity and directness of Shigeaki Iwai’s work communicates a rich complexity of meaning, In his exhibition the views and perceptions of the local inhabitants are intersected with the fresh impressions of a foreign visitor and the hypothetical constructions of distant interlocutors for whom Kellerberrin is only of site of the imagination. Iwai’s work raises questions that address problems posed by cross-cultural dialogue in a global society. His exhibition seems to also suggest that truths – about places, communities and histories – are always the result the process of exchange that involves the participation of different, voices, perspectives and sensibilities.
Open Space Mentoring