• Yuken Teruya / Notice Forest

    16. January 2005 to 27. February 2005

    Opening: January 15, 2005, 5 to 8pm

    curated by Elke Gruhn and Katharina Klara Jung

  • An enchanted clearing, in it’s centre a lonely tree, is disclosing by the glance into the paperbag, fast food packing material, whose colored imprint in its new role transformes into Indian Summer. The edges of the open, horizontally positioned bag are carefully folded, the bag forms the stage for what once was its origin: a tree in a forest - longsince forgotten. Notice Forest reminds of this potential innate to even the most simple throw-away product. Yet, the objects show not only some tree but are always bound to a physical model, mostly from the streets of New York. Those trees, vegetating solitarily in their concrete enclosure in the pavement, like the view through a keyhole allow a glimpse into the else sealed ground and so recall the potential of Manhattan’s earth.
    Yuken Teruya lives in New York, his roots are in Okinawa, a group of islands in the south of Japan. The prefecture of Okinawa differs from the main Japanese islands not only by it’s subtropical climate and the there to related variety in nature, but for the early flourishing of a light-hearted and lively culture, different from that found anywhere else on Japan’s main islands. What has made the place so famous is the tragedy of Okinawa’s more recent history, the havoc wreaked by the end of the Second World War.
    After Okinawa was returned to Japan, the American military bases were kept in place. Today 26.500 American and around 6.000 Japanese Military men are based on the island. The inhabitants today live either from tourism or from the bases.
    The work You-I You-I by Yuken Teruya seems, at first glance, to be an original and traditional kimono from Okinawa, a “bingata”. But a closer look at the kimono’s pattern reveals military motifs such as parachutists and military planes in coexistance with the floral ornamentics of Chrysantium and cherrytree-branches.

    The extraordinary beauty of the kimono seems absurd: The motif is direct and a result of Okinawa’s specific situation. The artist uses the lovely “bingata” as background to combine his native land’s past and present history Teruya does not, however, flirt coquettishly with native feelings. His objective gaze releases the kimono from its local background and makes it accessible as an artwork that draws authenticity from its intensiveness.
    In September 2004, New York Times reports a protest of Okinawa’s inhabitants. On August 13th, a US-Airforce helicopter crashed into a university campus. Almost a miracle that none of the 90.000 inhabitants were killed. The Okinawans are outrageous that neither Japanese security officials nor Japanese politicians are admitted at the crash site, whilst the local pizzaservice is being waved through - after all the investigation commission’s physical well-being needs to be taken care of. Teruya produces For the World to come classical pizza boxes printed in green and red, instead of a company name and the regular appetizing slogans the headlines of the incident together with the New York Times’ article are quoted, neatly prepared for public digestion.
    In the insides of the boxes are enriched with drawings of Okinawan children. Invited to workshops at the crash site,Teruya asked them to paint their impressions of what had happened, free from the political commentary’s diplomatic rhetorics.

    Yuken Teruya develloped the flag-project Color the World after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, when New York, trying to demonstratively prove the strength and unity of the American people, was covered with the national flag Stars and Banners – symbol of unity or symbol of exclusiveness? Teruya unites the flags of all 196 existing nations equally and without distinction to one single big flag. Each country’s symbol is placed according to it’s geographical position on the globe, a bright and cheerful vision of a future that is still far away from reality. Even though the United Nations did announce their interest in this world-uniting flag, they requested a version with only 191 country’s emblems – the missing five states are not yet members of the U.N.

    Following the horizon behind a deceitfully calm ocean, snapshots of a boy playing in the sand are lined up, amateur holiday memories of the building and destruction of a sandcastle like can be found in almost any family’s photo album. In the foreground of the series, easy to overlook, a former snail house, now home to a hermit crab. Two Lords is a work about the polarity of natural forces, the eternity of nature and the role of mankind. The shots were taken at the beach of Okinawa in the summer 2004 before the Tsunami tragedy in south-east-asia that united the world in a spectacular relief action.

    Yuken Teruya manipulates comon every day objects, wisely he transfers them into deeper meaning and future perspective. Doing tis he bravely he juggles with delicate topics that by his cheerful, almost innocent way of connecting authentic with realistic aspects receive a very intense urgency. It's this lightness which furnishes his work with great emphasis. An enchanted clearance, free from moral lectures.

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