VANISHED TRAVELLERS (2019)
Exhibited at Zimmerman Art Gallery, Palmerston North
Exhibition at Zimmerman Art Gallery, 2019
“What is the role of food in an art work? In many cases, it is either part of a still life, or an eating occasion such as a dinner or picnic setting, or maybe focussed on a particular brand, like Campbell’s soup ...
I am from Japan, which is well-known for good food, but I don't much care for Japanese food. I prefer hamburgers and Chinese food. I like food that satisfies my empty stomach.
When I was a starving university student, Japanese food was out of my reach. It was just too expensive, and I didn’t find it was particularly better than other available foods. Hamburgers and Chinese takeaways gave me the energy I needed to keep myself going and, like other Asian students at that time, I ate instant noodles (8 packs for a dollar!) to ease my hunger.
For an installation work I created nearly 25 years ago, I made a shrine of noodles, with a can of Pepsi, and a huge painting on board to which I glued 100 packets of ramen noodles (I regretted at the time that I did not just eat them instead).
I haven’t forgotten these hungry years and, as I still have a liking for those foods, I always wanted to do something with them in my art work. But how could I make those things something significant, and not just part of a still life, or simply a scene of people eating? My initial thought was to turn the food into a giant ... but after completing a big hamburger drawing ... it just looked like a big hamburger.
So I introduced some figures. In doing this, the food started to become a place or a landscape. So my concept evolved as food being a place people travel to, somewhere in between the real and absurd worlds.
The relationships people and other animals have with food is ambiguous. It could cause controversial discussion, depending on how we perceive it ... but to me, it is a curious subject, and one that gives me opportunity to express my appreciation for good, affordable food.”