The Second Stage at GG #43
“The Second Stage at GG” is a series of exhibitions presenting more recent works by former finalists in the gallery’s open competitions launched to promote budding artists in various fields. The 43rd exhibition in the series, titled “Archaeopteris in The Bookshelf,” will feature the works of Ryuta Iida, who won the Grand Prize in the 22nd “Hitotsubo Exhibition” Graphics Competition in 2004. Subsequently, in 2007 Iida formed the “artist unit” Nerhol together with graphic designer Yoshihisa Tanaka. Since its formation Nerhol has exhibited works at galleries and art museums in Japan and around the world.
Iida’s works are created by making cuts of progressively different sizes into the pages of a book, whereby the book comes to reveal a new aspect via the cut-out shape or cross-sectional graphic impression, without resorting to such means as printed words or photographs. Iida creates works which take the form of books that are construed not by “reading” them but by “cutting” and “sculpting” them.
The theme of the exhibition is the bookshelf. Up to now Iida has produced installations in which he turns books around, concealing their spines and facing their edges forward, so that all written information is hidden from view. He sees these as works of sculpture. For this exhibition he has carved book shapes from wood, the material from which paper is made, and lined them up on a bookshelf, creating a bookshelf in a state before it contains information. It will be displayed as an installation, a sculpture liberated from written information. Also on exhibit will be photographs and a video presentation of Iida’s book sculptures created from different approaches.
Message from the Artist
Archaeopteris is said to be the world’s oldest tree, claimed to have initially been a tree with a thick trunk. It can also be said to have been the first tree to cast a shadow on the Earth. Paper – the first material used to convey information – and writing can be understood to be the very first form of communication. When we gaze at a bookshelf, which is the aggregate of such knowledge, few people would feel that the books on it are first and foremost plants rather than publications. My works for this exhibition are my attempt, using the method of sculpture, to shed light on how information is conveyed and how people physically sense things. It is conceivable that “palpable nature” demonstrates the existence of books that contain written words, i.e. the “différance” (in the sense coined by Derrida) between an original and its copy. The act of changing a substance in a sculptural way is imbued with the arbitrariness of sculpture that clarifies meaning. I believe that “sculpture imitating a book” that has no meaning is the key to sensing a variety of information other than the visual, and enables us to sense a “forest of archaeopteris trees.”
Ryuta Iida (artist)