criticism


My Self as a Crystal

In the context of development in biological intervention through advanced biotechnology and the expansion of the virtual memory field in highly information-oriented society, a theme on a relationship between the physical quality of body and life has become influential again since the 1990s. Artists such as Kiki Smith, Matthew Barney, Damien Hirst and Mark Quinn have raised our awareness of life by presenting us a sort of unearthly body with their raw description, manipulation or modification of the material.

A fetus sleeping in a shell that looks similar to a lotus or seed, a mixture of a wild boar and a swan, and a deer covered up with leaves: if expressed in words, the works that Takuma Uematsu has created to date seem to be related to the trend after the 1990s. There is, however, the definite difference between those tendencies and Uematsu in how to grasp the relationship between body and life. In other words, there is a difference in the relationship between onefs self and the surrounding world.

Biological classification is based on species and order in principle. Chimaira as a result of the mixture of different species is strictly distinguished from humans, who are observers, as malformed or different kind. Though it might threaten humans as the other existence, it always remains as an object on the other side. According to the worldview in Uematsufs works, the relationship between life and body remains to be fluid. Every substance in the world including self=human being is flexibly linked to one another, and the visible appearance of it shows only a mere flash of the ever-changing world. While life has potential to live within every substance, the substance is capable to produce a new situation by connecting with any other substance. Thus, the world is always open to new potentialities while changing at all times.

It can be said that Uematsufs usage of greincarnationh and gcrystalh for the title of his work shows his world outlook mentioned above. I myself in a form of human being at this moment might have been a tree before, and might be an insect after the function as a human being ends. Life floats in the world in this way, and as life and the substance correspond to each other, I will become a gcrystal.h It is obvious that this world has a structure totally different to the world of an evolutionary or genealogical family tree. The world that consists in meeting and parting of life and substance is linked without having either the beginning or the end. It is just like Mobius strip.

The world contains myself, and I myself contain the world. Viewed from this angle, Uematsufs works are not Chimaira-like samples, but could be interpreted as the modeling of something that I might have been the case. That indicates the creative quality of art to long for the creative renewal of the world.

Hirayoshi Yukihir o(associate Professor Kyoto Institute of Technology)
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