Kazuko Miyamoto and Beatrice Balcou at EXILE

Artists: Kazuko Miyamoto and Beatrice Balcou

Exhibition title: Kazuko Miyamoto <> Beatrice Balcou

Venue: EXILE, Berlin, Germany

Date: March 24 – April 15, 2017

Photography: images copyright and courtesy of the artist and EXILE, Berlin

The current exhibition at EXILE is both an intentional and intuitive dialogue between two artists from different generations, yet with a similar sense of observing the world in its formal and relational complexity.

The work of Kazuko Miyamoto, born 1942 in Japan, living and working in New York since the late 1960s, is represented by a single oversized Kimono levitating in the open space and, in a sense, overseeing the entirety of the exhibition. Its strong, yet partly translucent presence demonstrates the poignant element of Miyamoto’s minimalism-rooted artistic practice. It is in particular this combination of performance-based objects with the unspoken presence of the otherwise physically absent feminine body that continuously reverberates through the artist’s work.

Béatrice Balcou, born 1976 in France, living and working in Brussels, sets a series of small-scale sculptures entitled The K. Miyamoto Boxes in context to Miyamoto’s Giant Kimono. These are the result of a comprehensive, non-invasive research into the work of Kazuko Miyamoto. In her practice, Balcou pursues a poetic analysis of the established rules of production, distribution and consumption of artworks. Balcou states that in the existing art-exhibiting reality, certain artworks get exhibited regularly while many others remain hidden, which, to the artist, leads to a slow unnoticed death of these abandoned objects.

The K. Miyamoto Boxes have a strong formal similarity with Miyamoto’s original works but, presented as plain wooden miniatures, achieve their own referential identity. With many of the original artworks by Miyamoto destroyed, the visitor is invited to focus, if only for a moment, on the display of the objects. The attention is focused on the objects as their material entity with their physical presence being blurred between art-historical fact, memory and disappearance.

The exhibition continues with a set of works by Balcou entitled Placebo Prints. These represent yet another derivation of an art object she examines and, like the echo of the original work, resonate somewhere between the physical matter of the original and the circulation of its reproduction. Set in dialogue to these flat renderings of three-dimensional objects is Miyamoto’s Cardboard Box Painting, which shows various kimono, knife or boat shapes painted onto a regular cardboard box, returning a flat surface back to its three-dimensional state.

Kazuko Miyamoto, Untitled, 1988, Photocopy of paper rope sculpture on brown paper, 43 x 27 cm

Kazuko Miyamoto, Untitled, 1988, Photocopy of paper rope and twigs sculpture on brown paper, 43 x 27 cm

Kazuko Miyamoto <> Béatrice Balcou, 2017, Installation view, EXILE

Béatrice Balcou, Impression Placebo IX, 50 x 40 cm, 2016. After Hexagonal Floor Piece by Kazuko Miyamoto, 1975

Béatrice Balcou, Impression Placebo III, 50 x 40 cm, 2016. After Vitrine (film 3) by Bojan SSarcevic, 2008

Kazuko Miyamoto <> Béatrice Balcou, 2017, Installation view, EXILE

Kazuko Miyamoto, Cardboard Box Painting, 1984, Acrylic on cardboard, 32 x 32 x 23 cm

Kazuko Miyamoto <> Béatrice Balcou, 2017, Installation view, EXILE

Béatrice Balcou, Crate to Dutchess’ Punctured Ball Placebo, 2016, Wood, 20 x 28 x 36 cm

Béatrice Balcou, Dutchess’ Punctured Ball Placebo, 2016. Various woods, 5 x 30 x 23 cm. After Dutchess’ Punctured Ball by Kazuko Miyamoto, 1978

Béatrice Balcou, Untitled Placebo I, 2016. Various woods, 20 x 18 x 18 cm. After Untitled by Kazuko Miyamoto, 1980

Béatrice Balcou, Two Swords Placebo, 2016. Various woods, 1 x 33 x 23 cm. After Two Swords by Kazuko Miyamoto, 2008

Kazuko Miyamoto <> Béatrice Balcou, 2017, Installation view, EXILE

Béatrice Balcou, Well Placebo, 2016, Various woods, 14,5 x 20 x 20 cm. After Well by Kazuko Miyamoto, 1973

Kazuko Miyamoto, Giant Kimono, 2014, Various fabrics, approx 350 x 280 x 2 cm

Béatrice Balcou, Morioka Placebo, 2016, Various woods, 2 x 22 x 22 cm. After Morioka by Kazuko Miyamoto, 2010

Béatrice Balcou, Crate to Worry Beads Placebo, 2016, Wood, 26 x 26 x 26 cm

Béatrice Balcou, Worry Beads Placebo, 2016, Various woods, 5 x 35 x 19 cm. After Worry Beads by Kazuko Miyamoto, 1980

Béatrice Balcou, The K. Miyamoto Boxes, 2016, Seven wooden boxes containing small-scale wooden replica objects, various woods and dimensions

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