Art Collaboration KyotoROH x Anomaly, Gallery Collaborations, Kyoto International Conference Center, Japan18 - 20 November 2022
ROH Art Collaboration Kyoto

ROH is pleased to share its first ever participation at the Art Collaboration Kyoto 2022 at Gallery Collaborations, exhibiting the latest artistic explorations of a number of the gallery’s represented artists Kei Imazu, Nadya Jiwa, and Tromarama. We are also excited to present Tromarama at the fair’s public art spot in Kyoto International Conference Center, showing the immersive installation Patgulipat (2022).

Continuing her ongoing interest in unraveling the ecological and sociopolitical histories surrounding her environment, Kei Imazu (b. 1980, Yamaguchi, Japan) creates a new series of paintings based on the illustrious mythical sea creatures originating in the Indonesian archipelago.

Curiosity cabinet from Ambon (2022) departs from her findings on colonial illustration archives that depict the Mermaid of Ambon and traces upon the mermaid's linkage to that of mankind’s aquatic origins. Various fictional and mythological creatures are floating around a European-styled shelf filled with miniature shells from the 1700s. During the colonial era, sea shells were considered exotic collectibles and were shipped to and marketed in the Netherlands, stimulating various imaginations of their collectors.

In Nautilus goblet (2022), Imazu reflects on the centuries-old divine proportion, the golden ratio. Everything in nature, from the arrangement of leaves, the pattern of flowers, and the spiral in seashells bear semblance to the golden ratio. Here, Imazu juxtaposes the nautilus shell with the personification of a mermaid that does not belong to the scientific order to contrast Dutch Golden Age still life paintings of nautilus fixed on a golden candlestick symbolizing wealth, science, and technology at the time. Drowsiness (2022) distorts images recollected from colonial oppression: the skull of Homo floresiensis, Amorphophallus japonicum, a carved mermaid, the dugong, a type of tropical fish, and a hand belonging to the wife of a Dutch general. In conversation with each other, the artifacts depicted in her painting are drawn in composition with the strong feminine figure from Ecstasy of Mary Magdalene (c. 1620) by Artemisia Gentileschi.

Nadya Jiwa (b. 1994, Braunschweig, Germany) works with images in various states of stasis that are then transformed into a distinctive aesthetic language. She initiates a cycle of images derived from printed matter or broadcast, retracing and reworking forms through strokes of the pencil or brush strokes in the paint. What remains on the surfaces she works on are apparitions of gestural impressions, identities of those represented obscured. Bringing older and recent works altogether, her paintings imagine a conceptual subtitling of sorts in meaning and ownership of images imagined by our collective consciousness. Jiwa often activates, as a departing point, popular images from the realm of the virtual or digital. These images may not necessarily be so warm in their presence to their viewer, as it relates to actual casualties or the stimulation of the conscious mind, but as one explores the rather darker, more imaginative aspects of our residual collective memory, certain shades begin to surface. Throughout this series of works, she presents images of ghosts. There exists a relationship between these embodiments of superstitions, the more metaphysical natures related to these beings, as well as specters as imagery in and of itself. Mysticism and its relata are on one hand commonplace in Indonesia, forming a sort of essential element to the social structure of its populace and its daily cycles of existence. Justice returns, then, as a form of natural circumstances, with its darker circumstances counterbalancing the self into existence as a counterpart. It is as if the fate of others over its own course and the circulation of these spectral images is akin to a chain of prayers interspersed in and through each other. It is not uncommon to see these images of the supernatural, more often than not in a certain celebration of its artificiality, in mass media as well as in the news.

ROH Art Collaboration Kyoto

Tromarama (est. 2006, Bandung, Indonesia) is a collective initiated by Febie Babyrose (b. 1985 Jakarta, Indonesia), Herbert Hans (b. 1984, Jakarta, Indonesia), and Ruddy Hatumena (b. 1984, Manama, Bahrain). The artists’ collaborative origins have formed an aesthetic basis for an interest in meticulously constructed stop-motion videos that would oftentimes appear playful and yet touch upon the very fundamental notions of humanity through the personification, or animation, of otherwise static objects. The practice of Tromarama has developed organically to expand further within moving images and beyond thereafter, and has expanded to include complex installations, algorithmic programs, as well as explorations into lenticular prints. Though the initial aesthetic underpinnings in their work remain consistent until today, the methodology and complexity of the conceptual explorations are ever expanding. 

Presented here is PPPPPPPP (2022), a video work that follows a moving eyeball figure in response to how our attention is constantly harvested, measured, and targeted by the internet economy. Working with a real-life dancer, Jessica Christina, they conceptualize to develop several human gestures that resemble how we interact through social media. Jessica's performance was recorded and processed by motion-capture software that converted her body movements into a three-dimensional robot. This robot was then retargeted by eyeballs, producing this figure that moves in a virtual space created from photogrammetry of Febie's house in Jakarta. The background of the house responds to the phenomenon of how the boundaries of being at home and being at work are blurred.

Inhabiting one of the outdoor spaces of the fair, ROH presents Tromarama’s Patgulipat (2022), an immersive installation made out of an inverted bouncy castle displayed among sixteen worker helmets each enclosing a speaker. The work is powered by a custom-made software live-connected to Twitter that harvests every tweet containing #assignment. Each tweet will then be converted into a 16-binary-code, that in turn triggers the on and off of the speakers. Each uniquely engineered, the speaker emits sounds created out of the artists’ own voices as well as several artificial sounds, enveloping visitors in a whirlwind of dissonance. The work was first exhibited as part of the collective’s recent solo exhibition at ROH, PERSONALIA (2022).

This year’s participation at Art Collaboration Kyoto is made possible in partnership with ANOMALY. The joint presentation brings together Indonesian and Japanese artists from each of the gallery’s represented artists, namely Kei Imazu, Kosuke Nagata, Nadya Jiwa, Tromarama, and Yukinori Yanagi.

Born 1980, Yamaguchi, Japan
Lives and works in Bandung, Indonesia

Kei Imazu utilizes everyday contemporary internet environment in collecting all sorts of artworks and objects that exist in and beyond the form of an image. After thoroughly going through her great volume of collected data, she distorts, reconstructs, and sketches them digitally. With the sketch she has created, Imazu traces it onto the canvas using oil paint, a method she currently employs to create her artworks.

Imazu has several solo exhibitions including Sowed Them to the Earth at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, USA (2023); Mapping the Land/Body/Stories of its Past at ANOMALY, Tokyo, Japan (2021); Anda disini / You are here, Museum Haus Kasuya, Kanagawa, Japan (2019); Measuring Invisible Distance,Yamamoto Gendai, Tokyo, Japan (2018); and Overgrown, ROH Projects,Jakarta, Indonesia (2018). Her group exhibitions include Frieze Seoul, COEX Mall, Seoul, South Korea (2022); WAGIWAGI at documenta fifteen,Hübnerareal, Kassel, Germany (2022); Declaring Distance: Bandung — Leiden, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2022); AAAAHHH!!! Paris Internationale, Paris, France (2018) – all featuring her collaborative work with Bagus Pandega; 1, ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); We Paint!, Palais de Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (2022); Last Words, ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2021); We Are Here, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, USA (2021); Tiger Orchid, Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach (2020); Roppongi Crossing: Connexion, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2019); Meet the Collection - 30th Anniversary of the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan (2019), and Taming Y/Our Passion, Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan (2019), among others. Kei Imazu is the finalist of Prix Jean-François Prat in 2020.

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Copyright of each artwork belongs to the respective Artists

Photography by The Artists and Nobutada Omote

Courtesy of The Artists, ANOMALY, Art Collaboration Kyoto, and ROH