Feel the movement like watching landscapes: Interview with Tomoko Ashikawa 芦川朋子

  • Installation view of ART TAIPEI 2013

Interview with Tomoko Ashikawa 芦川朋子


Q: How would you describe Yuko Mohri and her work?

Yuko is an artist full of new ideas and great passion for her expression. She is also an artist who is eager to collaborate with others; artists, musicians, photographers and other creative people. It is an important experience of collaborating with others, especially people from other backgrounds, for her because she always gets inspired by them in many different ways.

Her work is interactive and entertaining in a way that the audiences can see different kind of movement and hear wide ranges of sound in an exhibition space. It is not just about seeing the work but more about experiencing the atmosphere of the space. In the meantime, there is this conceptual aspect that we can see something we are usually unconscious about in her work. She creates her own system and circuit to let the objects move and to make sound. This system is sometimes controlled by an invisible magnetic power or sometimes controlled by the characters of the objects such as the color, pattern, shape and so on. The way her work functions reminds us to be more conscious about the presence of something we are not usually looking at but definitely there. Her work is a device that can give us an awakening of the power, environment, and objects around us in our everyday life.


Q: How did you decide to present her work as the gallerist of waitingroom?

I’ve known her and her work for the past 6-7 years already. I was sure about her talent as a contemporary artist. I was sure that her work is something to be introduced at many different fields in art; at museums, galleries, art fairs, residencies, art festivals and so on. She has already been showing her work at museums and wide range of events. However, no one was representing her work at the gallery as well as international art fairs. I believe it is very important that artists, curators, gallerists, critics, collectors and all these art professionals should work/discuss together to create a stage for the artist. No one was doing the gallerist part for her and I decided to present her work at waitingroom.


Q: What’s the collectors’ general attitude in Japan towards to media art or installation art?

We are still in the process of understanding how to collect media art or installation art in Japan. People think it is more for the museum or institution not for individual collectors. I think it is the same situation in Taiwan too. However, there are more people who are interested in collecting them compare to 10-15 years ago. It is the artist and the gallerist’s job to think how to sell and leave them to posterity. Hence, it is a very exciting media because there are still so many different ways of thinking and full of new ideas.


Q: From an interview I read about that you had your house when you started your own project space. How did it happen then and what was the situation that drove you to it?

I used to live in New York where people just start their own space at home. There were home galleries, home clubs with live music, home whatever. They just do it because they are really energetic to do what they like to do. I was really inspired by this situation and though I might be able to do it in Tokyo too. That’s how it happened. If you believe in what you do, there are many different ways to realize it.


Q:  It was your first time to participate Art Taipei. How was the result of it? Did it meet your expectation? And did you find anything interesting of the art scene from the event?

We had such a great experience at the fair, meeting curators, collectors, writers and many art professionals from international field. We had a lot of good feedbacks and exciting opinions about the work by Yuko and concluded the fair with great results.


Q: What does it mean for you of running a space? Is there an ideal model that you have in mind?

I think the space is your brain and it can travel to other place too. I have my gallery space, waitingroom, and it is my main place for my activity but it can travel to somewhere else and still can be “waitingroom”. It is almost like mobile mind and philosophy. When I am at art fairs, other spaces for exhibitions, other events, it is still my space, waitingroom, as long as there is my philosophy there. My ideal situation is that there are a lot of my space, waitingroom, everywhere in the world, when the gallery is participating in the fairs and when some of my artists are doing shows at other places so that there are always little bit of ideas of my space everywhere. 


Q: 你會怎麼形容Yuko Mohri和她的作品?

A: Yuko是一個極有創意,並對創作富有熱情的藝術家;同時她也熱切地想與其他領域的藝術家合作,像是音樂家,攝影師,或其他創意人士等。對她來說與他人合作是非常重要的經驗;尤其是來自不同背景的人們,她能從中汲取靈感。



Q: 為什麼你會決定把Yuko的作品放在你的畫廊展示呢?

A: 我認識Yuko和她的作品已經有6、7年了,我很肯定她作為一個當代藝術家所擁有的才華,也很確定她的作品絕對可以被展示在任何種類的藝術領域,無論是博物館、畫廊、藝術博覽會、駐村機構、藝術節等等。她已經在博物館和許多場合裡展出多次,但卻還沒有人把她的作品放到畫廊或是國際性的藝術博覽會。我認為藝術家、策展人、畫廊人員、評論家、收藏家、和任何跟藝術有關的專業人士聯合起來為藝術家鋪設平台,對藝術家來說非常重要。不過還沒有任何畫廊人員幫Yuko做這件事,所以我決定由我來做。


Q: 在日本,一般收藏家對於媒體藝術或是裝置藝術的普遍態度是如何呢?

A: 其實在日本,我們還在觀察到底要如何去收藏媒體藝術和裝置藝術。大部份人都認為放在博物館或是機構裡比個人收藏來的適合。我想在臺灣應該也是相同的情況吧。但比起十幾年前,已經有更多人對新媒體產生興趣。去思考要如何銷售跟保存,就是藝術家和畫廊人員的事了。所以媒體藝術是很刺激的,因為總是可以產生許多新的點子。


Q: 我曾在一篇訪談裡讀到,你曾在自己家裡為正在進行的計劃規劃一個空間。是怎麼樣驅使你那麼做呢?

A: 我以前住在紐約,那時候人們剛開始將自己的住家打造各種展演空間,那邊有家庭畫廊,有現場表演的家庭俱樂部等等。他們就是很直覺地做了他們想做的事。我被這種情況激勵到,覺得我在東京應該也可以這樣做,一切就是這樣來的。如果你相信你正在做的事,要實現夢想,其實有各種路徑。


Q: 這是你第一次參加臺北國際藝術博覽會。結果如何?有符合你的期待嗎?你在過程中有發現任何有趣的事嗎?

A: 這次博覽會的經驗真的很棒,我們認識許多策展人,收藏家,作家和來自國際上各領域的專業人士。我們也得到很多回饋和對於Yuko作品很棒的反饋和意見,對於這次結果我們都十分開心。


Q: 經營一個空間對你來說具有什麼樣的意義?在你心裡有任何理想的雛形嗎?

A: 我認為所謂的空間就是你的大腦,它可以帶你去任何地方旅行。我的畫廊空間waitingroom是我主要的活動場域——它可以旅行至任何地方,也仍然是我的「waitingroom」。這有點像移動心靈和哲學觀的概念,每當我在藝術博覽會或是其他展覽等場合,只要那邊存在著我的意志和經營理念,它就也算是我的空間。我的理想狀況就是, waitingroom存在於世界各地,當畫廊在參加博覽會、或是我的藝術家在其他地方跑秀時,裡頭總是會有一小塊想法或氣場,由我的畫廊出演,走到哪跟到哪。