Their collaboration for this exhibition was instigated by Takuma Uematsu, who first encountered the work of Mieko Shiomi at around the age of eight, when playing her Hoshi no katachi wo shita warutsu (Star-shaped waltzes) on piano. Over twenty years later, the two met when he took part in a performance organized by Shiomi for the exhibition “Fluxus in Deutschland 1962-1994” at the National Museum of Art, Osaka in 2001.
This was also the year Uematsu launched his career as an artist, and the encounter with Shiomi was to be a major influence on his practice thereafter.
Mieko Shiomi began her artistic career while still at university, forming Group Ongaku, Japan’s first improv music group, with Takehisa Kosugi and Yasunao Tone among others, before meeting Nam June Paik in 1963 and through him learning about Fluxus. She headed to New York the following year, and took part in various Fluxus activities.
Fluxus ideas and actions—crossing genres, with no regard for form, constantly seeking continuous change, stepping away from the everyday, repeatedly flowing and fusing—coincided exactly with her own thoughts on music.
She then set about creating her own works, dubbed “events,” which took as their subjects various phenomena found in nature and the everyday.
It is not the fulfillment of individual experience, but finding ways of communicating in order to share the world more widely with others and the outside that informs Shiomi’s works. Her mode of expression, with the planet as stage, and phenomena in nature and everyday life as subjects, deeming whatever emerges by chance from the conduct of these to be the work, was precisely what Uematsu was pursuing by “incorporating in the work something akin to the flow of nature, including human beings” (*from their dialogue), as he attempted to create devices that would transcend time and dimension.
For “Exploring the Stars” these two artists have come together and moved apart, separated and connected over and over, all the while sharing their worldviews, to create the works on offer.
We hope you will enjoy experiencing for yourself what flows through the exhibition venue.
All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people.
From Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s famous novella The Little Prince. As those familiar with the story may readily imagine, this quote suggests that people all have their own unique ways of looking at the world. Our attitudes to the universe, and the heavenly bodies therein, exhibit different aspects depending, naturally enough, on our period in history, country of origin, and ethnicity, but also our individual experiences, including viewpoints acquired from local myths and legends, astrology, and science fiction.
“Exploring the Stars” is a dialogue and meditation involving Mieko Shiomi and Takuma Uematsu; individuals of different ages and personal histories who nevertheless are both fascinated by nature, and have made natural phenomena the subject of their respective art practices. The exhibition is not so much a quest to produce something totally new as a creative journey taking in new perspectives on the everyday, with elements such as “flow” “place” “conditions” “chance” and “knowledge” as material. Thus, viewers will find, it invariably throws up something unexpected.