|We were just talking about you (work in progress)
|spray on walls in public spaces.1998-
click the photo to see the process
Toshiaki Tomitafs work is an eye-opening opportunity to reconsider collaboration,
a new direction in contemporary art, as a methodology and to consider the
implication of his calling into question his identity as an gartisth in
relation to others.
How does Tomita view collaboration and why does he question the role of
the artist as privileged kind of actor? Tomita once happened to notice.
In some graffiti that had caught his eye, the apparently meaningless letters
gAMESmeh. The plane of the graffiti was the product of many different hands
in a process of ceaseless change. In it he discerned a diachronic chain
of collaboration by an unknown number of actor/artist and decided to intervene
in that chain himself. Altering the puzzling word slightly, he produced
the phrase gAFTER meh, which could be read as2behind me,h gsubsequent to
meh or gpursuing meh. But who is gmeh in that brief message (the word gmeh
having been in the graffiti before Tomita intervened)? The indeterminacy
of subject is perhaps the key to reading Tomitafs collaborative activities
in the arts.
gThere is a spring inside youh. Through the conversation between Tomita
and his artist friend Sawanobori kyoko, a water color was painted by Sawanobori.
This drawing of a spring was shown at the entrance of his exhibition space.
Tomita began his journey after encountering this work. But during his travels
he had many new discoveries which led him back to the place which was depicted
in the drawing. The many drawing Tomita executed after this journey depicted
aspects to her drawing, and he realized that everything was actually already
derived from this drawing by Sawanobori. gEvoke something from inside of
dialogue, and let it overflow againh. In this eternal recurring vision,
the subjectivity of the artist is given away. The space of collaboration,
which Tomita moves towards, is the space which can only emerge through
dialogue with other. The position of the artist as an individual does not
exist in the moment before the collaboration. And the more the artist,
Toshiaki Tomita, tries to investigate his own identity, the more his attitude
comes to describe an anonymous, or general personality of the gartisth.
In We were just talking about you Tomita intervenes in the field of graffiti mainly by two manners.
Firstly he plays with gtagsh and alters them to create a new meaning.
Secondly he uses stencil technique to bring images or texts he found and
collect or given from far-off places where he visited. It cannot be read
as it was in the original situation but by meeting a new environment it
will be given a new meaning or glossa from the local and graffiti community.