NAOTAKA HIRO 2012-2015 Los Angeles
“The bronze piece is titled, Red Olive. It is a life cast of my right arm from chin to fingers, holding a testicle. The testicle is painted red.” (Red Olive, 2015, bronze and acrylic paint, 24″ x 14″ x 12″)
“I had a bald spot back of my head, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, almost for a year. It seems to have resulted from severe stress. Even though the spot was rather big, I didn’t notice it until a friend told me. In Japanese folklore there is a monster called futakuchi-onna: it is a woman with two mouths: one located on her face and the other on the back of the head, underneath her hair. Having her in mind I split open a face of my head-cast mask and cut a hole in the back. Then I stuck my head into the mask and breath through the hole. I was interested in the shape, blackness of the pit, and, like a black hole, its unknowability and uncanny nature.” Naotaka Hiro.
“THERE MUST BE SOME WINGS ON WHICH TO FLY”* by Rosanna Albertini
Because humans do not have wings, and their minds are stuck in their bodies, they never cease questioning their own substance, the density of their thoughts like a fog over a buzzing busy hive of cells and organs, veins and pumps that we detect in biology books. Naotaka decided to dive into his own blindness, to visit images of the unknown carapace, of gestures, not to mention the invisible motion/emotion ejected through hands drawing without knowing, not really knowing what’s appearing in images a l’impromptu, and yet the artist doesn’t miss the spot he has found in some curves of his brain, creatures swimming or multiplying in chemical ponds. They are in him, not clear at all if they are him.
Naotaka Hiro started to send out of his body from fifteen to twenty drawings a day five years ago, when his son was born. As if proliferation couldn’t stop? And every new born on paper is “his double” —he says. A supernatural disease? A human trying to capture the most fleeting, indefinite motions of his being. Sheets of paper are not mirrors. Light, light shadows, grab them before they melt, before they harden in ideas, visions, words. Movement is their natural birth, coming from any part of the body, wrapping forms recalling exterior limbs having the same delicacy of the interior skins but forms are not right, they look free from bones like new branches sprouting from a tree not yet aware they will have bark and leaves one day. Images of these drawings forget they had been conceived in an organism, a place of functional cooperation. They show us the mysterious story of inner impulses asking to emerge and then feeling surprised there is inhuman space out there; “there must be some wings on which to fly.” Rebellious and gregarious at the same time.
Those papers the artist covers with colors and water and delicacy extreme could be wings of desire floating in his mind. Sculpted and drawn hands look like an alien presence, four fingers, not five.
The hand is a bronze thief that holds a red fruit picked up from sexual organs. Something that might. Rigid, its power is lost.
On paper, creatures of water find a presence which is not supposed to last, the birth of an instant stabbing the artist with the force of an instinct, defenseless, already becoming something else.
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without man feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy,
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches,
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
WALLACE STEVENS, Of Mere Being, in Opus Posthumous, 1990
* Wallace Stevens, Adagia, in Opus Posthumous, New York, Vintage Books, 1990.