PAPER WINGS and BRONZE DECOR

NAOTAKA HIRO 2012-2015 Los Angeles

HIRO.Rosen201516

“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.

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pencil, watercolor, 17" x 14" Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pencil, watercolor, 17″ x 14″ Courtesy of artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pen, watercolor, 17" x 14" Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2015 Pen, watercolor, 17″ x 14″ Courtesy of the artist and Misako & Rosen, Tokyo

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015 Graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015  graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

 

“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, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen watercolor on paper

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

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.

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 6" x 8.5"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 6″ x 8.5″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

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

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9" x 12"

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, 2012-2015, graphite, pen, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 12″

* Wallace Stevens, Adagia, in Opus Posthumous, New York, Vintage Books, 1990.

MY BODY, THE UNKNOWN ME

NAOTAKA HIRO: My body, the unknown me

About Untitled (Mocap), 2015

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled (Mocap), 2015  Bronze, rope, steel   Dimensions variable Courtesy of Brennan & Griffin, New York

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled (Mocap), 2015 Bronze, rope, steel   Dimensions variable
Courtesy of Brennan & Griffin, New York

Untitled (Mocap) is a continuation of my previous sculptural works.  Using the same method of self-casting, I had pieces of palm-size, heated wax on my hand, that I pushed steadily against different places of the frontal part of my body —one by one, from head to toe, 58 times. 

Each cast bronze object, 58 pieces in total, has parts of my body surface imprinted on one side while traces of my fingers/palm cover the other side. 

All the parts are threaded by a single rope, thus the work has fixed and unfixed parts hung on the wall in the installation. The original body placements, as seen in the diagram-drawings, is being bundled up, displaced and re-arranged.  The work will be rearranged by the artist every time it is shown. (Naotaka Hiro)

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled (Mocap Drawing)  2015, Ink and pencil on paper, 72" x 48" Courtesy of Brenna & Griffin, New York

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled (Mocap Drawing) 2015, Ink and pencil on paper, 72″ x 48″
Courtesy of Brenna & Griffin, New York

The person has a mold. But not

its animal. The angelic ones

Speak of the soul, the mind. It is

An animal. … (Wallace Stevens)

Angels? Animals? A unique orchestra of organs for each person on earth? Plus the hardware, to support the subjectivity. Body surface: evidence that we belong to the material world. And everyone is unique, not so much for the chromosomes, but for life itself: if I was born in the countryside the city hurts me with noise, strange eyes of the car lights and unrequested offers to look and read and buy and pay. I can be killed if I don’t pay attention.

Naotaka Hiro isolates himself in his studio at the end of the day. Restless, he tries to imagine how to capture and render in an art piece his body’s hidden operations, the chemical dynamics that we call life. Aware of the senses yes, but for him more must be possible. “Motion capture” — “Mocap.”

HIRO.INDI10HIRO.INDI03HIRO.INDI01

Who’s driving the game? His mind or the body? The myth of Pygmalion, Rodin’s statues charged with human vibrations are things of the past. A stone is a stone and bronze is bronze is bronze. Still, other things must be possible — I’m imagining the artist’s puzzle — things that the eyes will discover when they appear. Not body parts, just forms of an imaginary dialogue between hand and body of the same person.

For the time being a piece of warm wax between the palm of his hand and different parts of his frontal body give him the answer, the one working for this piece: each pressure produces a local reaction. With no verbal ambiguity, the two parts are separate and one: the wax registers both: the result is a two-side booklet of physical language cast in bronze, a malleable space in between. Numbered, and cast in bronze, each entity refers to the body without being a body part. All together, connected by one rope, they might dream of the human body as we dream of prehistoric sites.

We only see, in Naotaka Hiro’s art piece, fragments of time, captured physicality. Maybe be there is a lion, or a tiger, in the final configuration. But, next time, positions will be changed. Who knows? Replaced by a Phoenix who simply decomposes before she was reborn? The artist, for sure, will play his art in front of the ‘animal spirits’ locked in the bronze.

Please read this stanza by Wallace Stevens. It’s the best portrait of Nao’s active work I found so far. Maybe not sculpture, maybe not true anymore that “Where word breaks off no thing may be.” (Friedrich Hölderlin) Yet, MOCAP gives the idea, if not the object.

WALLACE STEVENS stanza xix (from THE MAN WITH THE BLUE GUITAR)

That I may reduce the monster to

Myself, and then may be myself

In face of the monster, be more than part

Of it, more than the monstrous player of

One of its monstrous lutes, not be

Alone, but reduce the monster and be,

Two things, the two together as one,

And play of the monster and of myself,

Or better not of myself at all,

But of that as its intelligence,

Being the lion in the lute

Before the lion locked in stone.

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled, Mocap Map) 2015 detail

NAOTAKA HIRO, Untitled,(Mocap Map) 2015 detail.