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This page is aiming to protect my art works and writings. If you are a curator or art gallery who are interested in working with me, you don’t have to read them. My works do not require a long explication. To know more about me and my works, please contact me to meet and discuss.

 A light from the East

This exhibition features 4 young artists whose works are strongly connected with the East.

Nowadays, the work of many Western artists is influenced by Eastern culture, and Eastern artists also base their works on their origin.
  For example, since the early period of western art history, light and shadow have been taking an important role in paintings. They are used to give the perspective or make the circumstance dramatic.
  However, in China, the image of Yin and Yang was devised to describe the entire Universe. The symbol of circle and subtleness also comes to be often found in the expression of artists as a result of their influence from East.
  All this has changed the expression of light and shadow in contemporary art.

In the works of the exhibiting artists, light and shadow is not just a matter on the surface of an object any more. The artists spot light on internal aspect, nature occurrence or social issue.  They evoke, control and play with them.

31 Jan 2015

Text modified on 20 Oct 2015

Hitomi Kammai

 

Japan Now!
A-side B-side Gallery

17 – 22 January 2013
Supported by Miyasaka Brewing Company Ltd.

  A6 Template

Curated by Hitomi Kammai

“Japan Now!” will take a look at what the new character of young Japanese is and, finally, what people can learn from a superficially utopian country that recently showed strength after the earthquake in 2011.

Japanese culture is always introduced by stereotyped views such as Sushi, Geisha or Manga. Although they are also important part of Japanese culture, Japan is a country constantly changing and has more originalities to offer.

In fact, Japan first developed in Far East by accepting varied issues from foreign countries after the World War Ⅱ. And also its economic crisis in the 90’s is now often referenced in many countries confronting similar problems.

It also have a democratic government, social safety and low economic inequality compared to other countries ; but being confronted with critical problems of energy, population aging and declining birth rates, death in solitude or by suicide.

While it is important to know about Japan in order to understand what is happening in the world, Japan is still a little known and misunderstood country.

Japan Now! will look at the character of new generation in Japan after a fast economic growth and subsequent crisis, and the catastrophic disaster happened in 2011: still wealthy and struggling well to stay alive in these new circumstances.

8 August 2012
Text modified on 5th January 2013
Hitomi Kammai

 

Artist statement 2013-2014

I intend my work to make people explore the universe of the artificial, like I experienced in Tokyo, and discover the poetry in humanities.

I believe art is not only something beautiful, nor theoretical and difficult, but it can also be touching. With the concern of this matter, my recent works are based on showing my ideas about human as extra-terrestrials by using artificial objects such as sculpted roses, tiles or invented devices.

Dc49_2red-rose3-black1sprojection1s

22 April 2013
Hitomi Kammai

Artist statement 2013

Being born in Tokyo, the city that changes every time, Hitomi refuses to make the same artworks repeatedly for her whole artist life. With the subject of “Cosmic Theatre“, her works produce movements and gradations, then form a spiral when seen as an assemblage of several works together.

Red Roses

For example, she made a gradation of abstract paintings to show the image from life to death. This was also transformation of her works from figurative to abstract, then she has been making installation of figurative and abstract paintings by gathering them.  These assemblage guided her rebirth of creativity.

Recently, Hitomi's interests have been more focused on humanities such as feminism or destruction by human. Her works are also based on the philosophy from Far East: development of mankind and idea of coexistence between varied elements. As a result of these interests, she combines some of her past works to make literal stories that people can travel into with the humorous characters of extra terrestrials. As when she played with the books in her childhood or felt mystery about man's culture.

Dc49_2

Yoyo Ultra Terrestiral

 

April 2009
Text modified on 8 August and 16 September 2013
Hitomi Kammai

Action behind creating crater paintings & how I know when the work is finished.

A part of painting from performance.

 The painting is made using glue and acrylic on polystyrene. This work was made in relation to the subject of creation and destruction by human which I had a strong impact after the nuclear problems in Japan. And also, it indicates that contemporary art mainly based on concept has a limit. This concern came from my experience of being part of a new generation in art society that, in my belief, needed to be a turning point.

 I never know when my work is really finished. It is always possible that I start to paint (or melt) it again, after a day or even a year.

 When the elements in my painting come to look like neatly settled, I once put my brushes down. Everything is there to be there. It looks like the work has been neatly done. However, I am not sure if it is really right yet.
 So I put my work in a shelf or show it to ask opinion of others. Sometimes, someone tells me the point I could not be aware of by myself. Otherwise, I look at my works after having distance for a while from it. Then, I often find out a solution to make the work better. It can be a new technic, material or idea. As the work has already been finished, I may take the risk of breaking some parts of the painting again. I recently had one of my painting 'melted down'. I still don't know if I can save this one. Yet, mostly this action raises the quality of the work.

 For me, making art is this repetition of creating and destroying, then re-creating again. I believe this is also how art history is being made and how human, at least, tries to be.

 

6 July 2013
Hitomi Kammai

Project

My recent paintings claim that conceptual art can go into a dangerous area that can exceed moral limits.*

I want more art that is not only theoretical and difficult but touching. With the concern of this, I have been working with dented paintings, which mention both the state of nuclear problem in Japan and contemporary art.

"Melted Pollock Painting 5" Details
"Melted Pollock Painting 5" Details

These works could be shown as a collage of different time lines with my other works. girl-apt1-1
Video "Girl" still image of a girl who had been burned by the atomic explosion during World War Ⅱ.

Then, my works melt a frozen time from the past and sublimate a soul into the future.

The show starts with a poem as follow.

The girl asked the bird.
"How is it to be alone in the universe?"
The bird replied but she could not understand his word.

2050, Tokyo
Only a shadow exists...

14 February 2013
Hitomi Kammai

*More details in the text below.

Project 2

I have been working with dented paintings, Ultra Terrestrial drawings and sculptures.
These works are to be shown as a collage of different time lines.

"Melted Pollock Painting 5" Details

"Melted Pollock Painting 5" Details

 For example, my dented (or crater) paintings are images of the earth destroyed by nuclear war in the future. People in the future use my Germanium radio "Decipherment" as a device to listen to the voice from the past.

Decipherment
Germanium radio "Decipherment"

 This suggests the fact that people in the past were seemingly cruel to us. Yet, they were indeed the same human existence as how we are nowadays.

 My show is aiming to melt a frozen time from the past and sublimate a soul into the future.
It starts with a poem as follow.

The girl asked the bird.
"How is it to be alone in the universe?"
The bird replied but she could not understand his word.

2050, Tokyo
Only a shadow exists...

girl-apt1-1
Video "Girl" still image of a girl who had been burned by the atomic explosion during World War Ⅱ.

25 June 2013
Hitomi Kammai

 A question

In 1917, Marcel Duchamp signed his name on a urinal and defined it as an artwork. Since then, many artists have kept working to answer the question of “What is art?” and brought different objects into the field of art. Dead animals and broken pianos are now recognized as significant works in the history of art.

However, such expedition of artists stray into risky area.

As a result of the attempts of artists to put different things into the field of art, art begun to challenge moral matters. I understand that by making scandals, the successful stories made art society exciting. Nevertheless, the work of Damian Hirst is viewed as an animal cruelty by many people who disagree with him. This cause the following question: If animal cruelty is accepted as art by specialists, what about violence? The ultimate question of this direction is “Is murder art?”.

The movement of contemporary art to answer the question given by the work of Marcel Duchamp has arrived at a limit.

Violence might be not intention of artists. However, I believe there are artists who make their works in intentionally immoral ways.Art is not to hurt someone else. Art shouldn’t be used for the excuse to do whatever a person wants. Art is not a sect. In my view, we are at the moment to discover other directions for contemporary art.

Art specialists need to quit answering “What is art?”. What need to ask now is “What is contemporary art?”.

To conclude, some artists create a revolution in art by bringing varied objects into the category of art and became famous through this. However, this brought art into a dangerous area that can exceed moral limits.

As art is standing on the point towards the other direction that contains elements which used to be considered as unlikely to be contemporary art.

22 March 2011
Modified on 27th Nov 2011
Hitomi Kammai

Artist statement 2012

Being born in Tokyo, the city that changes every time, Hitomi refuses to make the same artworks repeatedly for her whole artist life.

Although her works are varied, they are all based on poetry and show her ideas about humanity by abstraction.

Recently, she made paintings with dents. These paintings show that what used to be believed as perfect can turn into the opposite by the changing of time. It also alarms us about the direction of dangerous developments by mankind.

She often uses artificial objects to show human existence. Hitomi is fascinated by the invention of film and the camera. The chemists' passion of this era is in accord with her desire to liberate the figure from academic paintings.
People can find her interest in the evolving of mankind in these works about invention.

Another example of showing her concern in humanity, she created the character of Ultra-terrestrials. When extra-terrestrials see us from outside of our planet, we are also all extra-terrestrials to them.
So the Ultra-terrestrials in her work actually represent humans in the future, born from her curiosity and wonder.

Her devices spin to amuse people, and project blue light to two poles: the past and the future. Ultra-terrestrials dance under the light, on the colored tiles, in the fictitious city like how the universe is.
As a homage to the lost passion of scientists and to the dream of those with sensitive minds.

After Nochlin's writing

Linda Nochlin is a feminist art historian. Second feminism is the movement started from 1960s. (www.suitsuite101.com) (Accessed 14 June 2011) In 1960s and 1970s, women marched for their equal rights. Nochlin’s essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (Nochlin 1971) took an important role in this feminist movement. Carroll (1989) writes Nochlin is one of the pioneer in the feminist history of art. Thirty years later, Nochlin (2002) wrote another essay titled “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Thirty Years After” and she showed great achievement done by her former writing published in 1971. The first part of my essay will summarise both her writings from 1971 and 2002 with the regard of how the role of women has been changed in the field of art. Then, the advantages and disadvantages of the essay will be stated. Finally, this essay will argue that although feminist movement between 1960 and 1970 and Nochlin’s work as an art historian brought considerable improvements for women’s lives, there are still many issues to be resolved. Firstly, feminism is not well presented in history of art. Secondly, women artists are still forced to adapt to male directed “greatness”.

First of all, the reason the latter text is chosen in my writing is, although her essay from 1971, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” is more famous than the text written in 2002 “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Thirty Years After”, newer essay contains recent states of women and result of feminist movement in 1970s. As she claims at the end of her text, the attempts of her generation have not been terminated. She suggests that it is necessary for us to take over their works and continue working for better women’s lives. To move on her writing, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Thirty Years After” is a short but heavy weighted text. It is required to have knowledge in both feminism and history of art. Especially, it is important to read her first text, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” and answers given in the history of art. Thus, these details will be explained together with her writing mainly treated in this essay.

The first part of Nochlin’s writing begins with introduction of her former attempt in 1971. In this essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?”, Nochlin explains that women are historically excluded by art society. This is not because there is no great women artist. Yet, society and art academies had their system of not to accepting female artists. Steadman (1999) supports her arguments with some good examples. According to him, the French academy accepted only 3 percent of women between 1648 and 1792. Nochlin also strongly criticises the state of the Academy “woman to reveal herself naked-as an-object for a group of men, but forbidden to a woman to participate in the active study and recording of naked-man-as-an-object, or even of a fellow woman” (Noclin 1971).

Nochlin writes that female experience is different from men’s. Therefore, there must have some kind of feminine style art and such style had been rejected by men in the art scene. This was caused by the notion of the great art bring made by male values. Sova writes about her influence:

This synopsis of feminist art history outlines the changes that occurred in art as a result of feminist critique and research. These changes include a change of mediums, subject matter, and processes in art and a complete rethinking of art history. (Sova 2002)

Looking at the essay written in 2002, Nochlin describes in more details what has changed in the art world. Firstly, her question was asked during the feminist movement that occurred from 1960 to 1970. While women protested for equal rights, her mission was to change male dominated “greatness” in the field of art. She presents several female artists who changed this notion of greatness. Furthermore, Nochlin explains about the period that women appeared in public spaces by marching for women’s rights. Before this movement, public women used to be prostitutes. Some examples of women artists who made their art works about the women in public space are presented to show changes since 1970s. Finally, Nochlin mentions briefly women artists who broke down the barriers between media and genres. Gender bending and fluidity of identity are also mentioned. As a result, this conversely caused nostalgia for the masculine image of men. Nochlin criticises a male curator and claims that anti-feminine qualification still exists between art historians. Her text ends with our current states and strong encouragement for future generations.

One of its advantages is that how the feminism movement has changed women’s lives and art history is introduced. Therefore people can learn both history of feminism and art from reading Nochlin’s text. Considering the fact that she is a professor of art history, this is well written for people who study art. Another positive aspect of her writing is presenting varied women artists, such as Joan Mitchell: abstract expressionist painter, Virginia Woolf: writer, Rachel Whiteread: sculptor or Jenny Holzer: word art artist. As Nochlin wrote in the essay from 1971, one of the reasons there had not been great women artists was that nobody, any critic of art or art historian wrote about women artists. Thus Nochlin is keep devoting for female artists to let them widely appear in public. Another important fact of Nochlin’s writing is she convinces us by clearly stating for future generations about the need for women’s voice to be heard.

On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages. Firstly, Nochlin focuses too much on changes and the success of feminists. It is certain that feminists had great achievements. However, Nochlin might be inflating these changes. For example, if feminism critique has become main stream as she writes, might be doubtful. Although many people write about feminism, it may be not taking much place in the history of art. To verify this, checking the indexes of art history books must be useful as a proof. Art has varied movements that contain feminist art. Therefore in the book of history of art, there are usually index, glossary or contents page to show all movements introduced in the book. Looking at this fact, quite considerable numbers of contemporary art history books which can be found in major art book shops in London do not contain the word “feminism” in their index pages. “Art of the 20th Century” is a 840 pages large book written by Ruhrberg, K. and other authors (2000). However, there is no word “feminism” or anything related to it in its contents page. “…ism: Understanding Art” by Little (2010), has the same result both in the contents and glossary pages. ”Art” of Comming (2006), spent 11 pages on glossary and index without reference to feminism. Even in a book more specified for modern and contemporary art, “Art the twentieth Century” Gualdoni (2008), nothing can be expected. When it comes to “Art: The whole Story”, written by Farthng, S. and Cork, R. (2010), it is just a waste of energy to open such a heavy book in search of feminist theory. To be faire, there are some women-friendly books: In ”After Modern Art 1945-2000”, Hopkins, D. (2000) spent several pages to describe the feminist movement in art, including Nohklin. Her name and the word feminism also appear in “Art since 1960” by Archer, M. (2002) on the page of index and select bibliography.

These facts show that in the books introducing art in general and covering a wider era, are apt to cut the feminism movement maybe because of lack of space. It is quite optimistic on Nochlin’s side, being quiet about the fact that 30 years of her efforts are seen as not important and erased from the history. As the book which her essay is in, was published at the occasion of the celebration of 30 years of her first question, Nochlin must have been pleased about the honour. Yet, it must be said this is a disappointing result.

Secondly, to move on the selection of the artists, although Nochlin states as if these artists changed the greatness of art, it seems to me they just followed directions men created. For instance, one of the female artist Nochlin presents, Cindy Sherman’s own website (www.cindysherman.com) (accessed 12 June 2011) explains that Sherman began to take photographs of herself with in 1976. Although she is well known with her photographs of grotesque images, according to Hayami (2000), art works to be against the established notion of art are along same lines as the movement of Dada, which started in 1916. His article also mentions that there were artists who were making their paintings, which show grotesque images of human after the World WarⅠ. However, what can be found here is, such works made by women certainly broke the image of femininity. In the Christian Bible, it is written:

For I do not allow women to teach, or to exercise authority over men; but she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the women were deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2 verse12-14)

And such an idea in Christianity was believed in western countries for centuries. Witcombe (www.witcombe.sbc.edu) (accessed: 4 June 2011) explains that this negative image of Eve was considered as a story to tell the reality of women from male point of view for almost last two thousand years. The artist like Bourgeois refused to stay at home abstemiously and brought object like a huge male sex sculpture into art spaces.

Another disadvantage of Nochlin’s writing is, there is no clear explication about “feminine style” art works. Although she writes in her essay “Why have there been any great women artists?” “Women artists are more inward-looking, more delicate, and nuanced in their treatment of their medium.” (Nochlin 1971) On the other hand, Nochlin arranged many female artists names and wrote that there is no link with femininity in their works. Finally in both old and new texts, any examples of what is feminine style concretely with the works of artists are given. They are found more clearly in the text of another feminist historian. Lippard (1976) writes some works of female artists are about sexual images as an object for men. Some female experiences such as pregnancy or menstruation, others worked more on materials and colours formerly designated as “feminine,” or symbolic images of veiling, pressures, sensuous surfaces or moving from the inside outward. Many of the characteristics are arranged in her essay. However, Lippard does not state the name of artists who made such works either. Therefore, it is not evident if they are really feminine style. Yet, as Nochlin also mentioned in her essay, there is “Manly man” action by art historian, and if there is anti-feminine qualification, this means at least there is image of “feminine” and it is disqualified just because of correspondence with its femininity.

My concern after reading Nochlin’s essay is, although only artists know that if women really had their motivation to make such works like grotesque photographs or a huge sex sculpture, it is worth doubting whether they might made any compromise to be accepted into male dominated art world. If female artists were only accepted in art spaces by making art works that were suitable for the movement of the era made by men. In other words, whether they did not make art that was different from their female nature. Although details of female nature will not be examined in this essay, as mentioned above, there is at least feminine image compare to manly image. It can not be known if Bourgeois compromise to men or not, but a fact can be found in the website of Guerrilla girls. Marquette, S. (1997) provides information that they wear a mask because humor can work to modify the negative image of feminists. In Guerrilla Girls’s own website, they also answer a question “It's an effective weapon.” (www.guerrillagirls.com) (Accessed: 14 June 2011)

In addition, with regards to guerrilla girls, it is significant that Nochlin did not mention them in her essay. Looking at the history of art, there are artists who are always presented as famous feminism artists. Nochlin’s selection is mostly authentic to these basics. However, in her text, nothing is mentioned about guerrilla girls. Considering how famous they are, it is unlikely that Nochlin forgot about them. In fact, this is not only her. Female critics seems to me secretly bonded for not to present them. This might be explained by considering the matter of “feminine” expression in art. Their works might not be seen as feminine. Even if they claim feminism, because of their attitude in front of male audience, they may be not preferred by female historians. This tells the fact that states of women artists are not really accepted as they are. They might not need to be nude in art spaces. Yet, instead of this, some artists are still required to be absurd with gorilla masks.

To conclude, it is true that many women artists came to take places in art world. Yet, the way they are accepted is doubtful. It is evident that feminist art movement is still excluded from art history in many cases. In addition, although the notion of “greatness” has been changed by the works of both men and women artists, these new concepts of greatness were constructed before women artists came to join in the field. Therefore, women artists still need to adapt their style to be accepted by art world that was prepared by men in the beginning of the century. Concerning these facts, the words of Nochlin, “We will need all our wit and courage to make sure that women’s voices are heard, their work seen and written about.” (Nochlin 2002) is significantly convincing. Her writings are also to be presented in the history of art with great respect and women need to keep insisting that their works are to be accepted by their personal qualities and own styles.

Bibliography

Books

  • Archer, M. (2002) Art since 1960 New edition London : Thames&Hudson
  • Coming, R. (2006) Art London: Dorling Kindersley
  • Farthng, S. & Cork, R. (2010) Art: The Whole Story London: Thames & Hudson
  • Gualdoni, F. (2008) Art the twentieth Century Milano: Skira
  • Hayami, T. (2000) ‘ダダ的反抗と夢の開拓 Objection of Dadaist and Cultivation of Unconscious World’ in Suenaga, T. (ed.) 20世紀の美術 The Concise History of the 20th Century Art Tokyo: 美術出版社: 53-68
  • Hopkins, D. (2000) After Modern Art 1945-2000 Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Little, S. (2010) …ism: Understanding Art London: Herbert
  • Ruhrberg, K. et al (2000) Art of the 20th Century Spain: Taschen
  • Van der Stighlen, The Eclipse of a Leading Star. Judith Leyster: a Dutch Master and Her World.

Articles

  • Carroll, M. (1989) ‘In short; Nonfiction’ New Yortk Times Book Review 1/15/1989: 23
  • Moran, B, K. (eds) Women in Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness New York: Basic Books: 480-510
  • Nochlin, L. (1971) ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’ in Gornick, V. &
  • Nochlin, L. (2002) ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Thirty Years After’ in Armstrong, C. & Zegher, C. (eds) Women Artists at the Millennium Massachusetts: The MIT Press: 21-32
  • Mainstream in the Arts’ Journal of Art & Design Education 18/3
  • Marquette, S. (1997) ‘Guerrilla Girls’ Research/Penn State 18/ 1
  • Lippard, L, R. (1976) ‘Projecting a Feminist Criticism’ Art Journal 35/4 : 337
  • Sova, I. (2002) ‘Paintings of Women’ Guidance & Counseling17/4: 135
  • Steadman, K (1999) ‘Status Quo ? No ! Women Moving from Marginalisation to
  • Sullivan, P. (2006)
  • New Kings James ‘The Holy Bible’ 1 Timothy 2 verse12-14

Web sites

  • Biography CindySherman.com http://www.cindysherman.com/biography.shtml (12 June 2011)
  • Guerrilla Girls (1995) An interview http://www.guerrillagirls.com/interview/index.shtml (14 June 2011)
  • West, T (2010) The History of Second Wave Feminism http://www.suite101.com/content/the-history-of-second-wave-feminism-a242955 (14 June 2011)
  • Witcombe (2000) Eve’s Identity ; Eve and the Identity of Women http://witcombe.sbc.edu/eve-women/3eveidentity.html (4 June 2011)