Shitamichi Motoyuki " A Ship Went Up That Hill "

2022年6月28日 11:12 下道 基行 */?>

Shitamichi Motoyuki (b. 1978, Japan) assembles and categorises things he sees, experiences and collects. He gathers fragments drifted from the strata of time, illuminates them under the light of the present and, in this way, connects the stories of the past to the here and now. This process manifests in the form of photographs and films as well as maps, objects and texts.

Following the archaeologist’s method, the artist explores the layers of time, with interest in which traces of the past remain in the present. He captures landscapes altered by natural disasters or urban development, collects fragile and fluid signs of artificially partitioned boundaries, and discovers everyday objects and stories behind mundane events.

After graduating from Musashino Art University, Tokyo, in 2001, for four years Shitamichi travelled all over Japan to capture traces of former military facilities, such as bunkers and forts, in a series of photographs entitled Remnants (2001–2005). He then travelled to Saipan, Tinian, Taiwan, Sakhalin and Korea to shoot Japanese shrine gates, which remain from Japan’s colonial period, for his Torii series (2006–2012). Rather than serving as direct evidence of the past, Shitamichi’s images encapsulate their present condition after a long period of time. His photographs show how traces of past events continuously change or disappear, like the essential state of memory.

A year after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the artist left Tokyo and moved to the Aichi region. One day, he happened across a small and beautiful river called Sakaigawa near his new house. The river, whose name literally translates to ‘Border River’, was also the boundary between the two provinces that governed the area long ago. Interested in this fact, Shitamichi began to interview people living by the river. As he found traces of borders buried in the name and topography of nature, ‘borders and boundaries’ gradually became the main subject of his work. The artist’s interest in the physical and, subsequently, psychological boundaries sensed in everyday life continues to the present. His research has since expanded to address a larger geography, as exemplified by Tsunami Boulder (2015–ongoing) – which is presented in this exhibition. This ongoing project is centred on the island of Okinawa, where geopolitical tensions permeate history. Capturing the massive rocks and boulders washed ashore by tsunamis, the work highlights the abrupt changes in scenery caused by natural disasters. Since 2013, Shitamichi has also been orchestrating a workshop-based project entitled 14 years old & the world & borders (2013–ongoing), working with teens at the threshold age of fourteen in different countries across the world.

Just before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the artist moved with his family to Naoshima, a small island in the inland sea of Setouchi, where he is still based. Here, every day he collects traces of the modern past, which he calls ‘new antiques’: everyday objects like matchboxes, bottles and tickets, which he incorporates into his work. He also holds various workshops with local residents in his studio, which serves as a library and commons. Working in close tandem with others, Shitamichi seeks to understand individuals, society and the world through a practice that attempts to reveal mundane but significant signs within everyday life, and invites us to rediscover the new values and perspectives they contain. As he explains, ‘I want to know the world in my own way, which is why I keep doing what I do.’

Haeju Kim (curator)

A travelling book

2019年7月28日 01:12 下道 基行 */?>

A travelling book
John Batten

One of the nicer art projects I have seen this year is Japanese artist Shitamichi Motoyuki’s '14 years old & the world & borders'. Designed by Shin Akiyama, this beautiful tri-lingual (Chinese, English, Korean) book is the culmination of a longer project spread over six years in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Motoyuki and Hong Kong artist Tang Kwok-hin exhibited together at Tai Kwun late last year focusing on a simple but compelling idea: that ‘borders’, in a variety of real and imaginary forms, are constantly in our everyday lives. Borders as boundaries, borders as walls, borders as ideas that impede progress, change or creativity. A border can literally be another person, or a physical road or an imagined bridge. A border can also be a fear, a prejudice or an idea. A border can stop or limit or be a challenge to overcome. Often, recognizing a border is the first step before crossing it and going ‘forward.’ An extreme, but common example is an alcoholic or drug addict whose recovery first requires a full acknowledgement of the addiction. We have borders throughout our lives and a considered response and calm recognition to a challenging border demonstrates “common sense”, or adult-like maturity.

Motoyuki shared his views about borders with 14-year old teenagers in schoolroom workshops he led in different countries. He explains: “The mind of a high school student always vacillates, and I think one of the reasons is that they are still at a transitional stage oscillating between welcoming and rejecting what adult society accepts as “common sense”. What they say consists of “questions and resistance against common sense” and I would like to explore this feeling. This project is a dialogue with them inside high school classrooms….”

In the workshops, the artist discussed and asked students to think about various borders and write a short text about a personal border. The pieces were then published in a separate weekly column in a local newspaper, in Hong Kong it was Ming Pao Sunday. Many students spoke about obvious immediate concerns, such as careers, study, friends, family, or their appearance. For example, “Since my legs are fat, I don’t feel comfortable to show them, neither in my school uniform or my own clothes.”

Many students dug deeper, on the edge of their emotions: “My cousin will go to Australia soon, I can’t go home with her anymore – it’s very lonely. But, I can’t tell her, “Don’t go.””

Some students highlighted a psychological or ideological border: “Uncle died, and the adults cried, but the children didn’t. Children usually cry all the time, not adults. But how come when someone dies, it’s only adults who cry? Is it because they previously lived together? Because they are family? So, at a time like this – other children may feel the same – when children don’t cry and adults cry, more questions arise in my mind.”

The book is not available to be bought, nor is it available at bookshops. It has been given away free and Mitoyuki has set some rules: once receiving the book, you write your name and location in the front cover; after reading the book, you give it to another person who must also write their name in the front cover, and this is repeated over and over. The book will – hopefully and eventually - travel much further afield, around the world. It’s not to be kept by any reader. It will not reside on a bookshelf or be available in a library. It keeps travelling: it is a borderless book, free to travel from hand to hand and mind to mind.

Between its covers are the teenage concerns of this present moment. However, the book also has a timeless universality crossing national borders and cultures. Experiencing the hormone-fueled anger, doubt and rebellion of a teenager encountering their personal borders is often also a traumatic period for a parent. A teenager is also a young person with honest openness and a refreshing sense of wonder.

If you happen to receive the book - and that probability is unfortunately very low - you would see, as Mitoyuki records: “The scenery (that the students) encountered in various daily discoveries…unfolded in these tiny voices.”





藝術家在這些工作坊中與同學討論,請他們想出不同的邊界,再寫出一段關於個人邊界的短文,再選出部分文章刊登於《明報星期日生活》的連載。很多同學都提到事業、學業、朋友、家人或自己的外表等明顯切身的關注。有同學寫道 :「因為我的腿很粗,常常覺得出門的時候,不管穿便服還是校服,都總會有些不安。」





如果你碰巧收到這本書––不過那個可能性應該會十分很低––你將會看到下道基行所紀錄的:「 那些同學們在日常中遇上的景色,透過這些微細的聲音逐一呈現。」



2019年1月 9日 10:09 下道 基行 */?>


尾形絵里子 (高松市美術館 学芸員)



2017年12月31日 13:58 下道 基行 */?>


中尾英恵 (小山市車屋美術館 学芸員)



2017年9月17日 09:33 下道 基行 */?>



Open yourself to the functions concealed in objects
Takashi Kubo

As a specialist of the Earth Sciences, I usually do not give much thought to anything other than rocky outcrops. Outcrops hold the key to the origins not only of a particular area, and the archipelago of Japan, but also to the history of the Earth. The opportunity to meet Mr. Shitamichi has led me to consider the world around me in a more multifaceted manner.

In contrast to myself, who views the outcrop as something with no direct relationship to people’s lives, Motoyuki Shitamichi turns his gaze to the stones that exist alongside people. Though we both study rocks and stones, we differ greatly on this point. On the other hand, neither of us enjoy being confined to the indoors, preferring to be out in the field.

The original request I received from the Kurobe City Art Museum, was that they required theoretical content regarding the rocks and minerals solely in our sphere of living. I immediately offered to be a guide for the eastern area of Toyama. I had several reasons for doing this, but primarily, I wished to confirm directly how two people from different specialties approach the same field, and how their appreciation of this field differs.

Making assumptions based on his past works, I decided to show Mr. Shitamichi around a certain area that I believed would capture his interest. There were many examples of stones which were used with a clear intent by humans: natural stones that were objects of worship; white stones placed as offerings before stone images of Buddha; abundant stones piled up as objects of religious milestones and historical landmarks. However, he was most interested in the stones we saw that had been carried from the river to be used when making pickles, the stone walls that had been built using unwanted materials from the stonemason, and the stones the size of a person’s head casually piled up in a garden. Those stones did not originally have a clear purpose, but were stones that people had inadvertently used in place of something else, stones which were given a role in daily life. Just as I believed would happen, the differences in our sensibilities were thrown into sharp relief by going out into the field together.

Then, through my vague understanding of his sensibilities, and my ignorance of the arts, I attempted to understand the concepts he was trying to capture. When a stone is lying in the riverbed or on the seashore, it is not in a state of being useful in people’s lives. However, if someone thinks to use a stone for something, in the instant when that idea leads to the stone being picked up; the stone is given a function to serve. When the stone is then used to serve this function it becomes a tool. I believe it this concept that he is trying to present.

While bearing this concept in mind, we can see that while we are able to grasp the various characteristics of a particular object, we also use that object for something completely different at other times. For example, I realized that when I pour hot water into my cup of instant noodles, and am waiting for the required three minutes, I nearly always place my disposable chopsticks on top of the lid. When doing this, my attention is focused on the mass of the chopsticks, and I am using them as a weight to hold down the lid.

The same thing is occurring in the earth’s crust. Consider a fault line. A fault is a fissure that is caused when stress placed on the earth’s crust is released. In the case of an active fault, the function to repeatedly release the accumulated stress occurs when all the required physical conditions are present. On the other hand, because the fault is a weak surface, it also functions as a path for the movement of water, gas, and at times magma.

My area of expertise is in the Geological Age. Through research using fossils, I try to throw light on how bivalve families were related to each other, and how they lived. Through meeting Motoyuki Shitamichi, and the concept he is presenting, I have started to develop the habit of multilateral thinking in terms of how living organisms functioned, and how they were interrelated within the biological community.

I am curious to see what concepts Mr. Shitamichi will present us with in the future. It is with thoughts of his unseen work, that I stop writing.

Kurobe Yoshida Science Museum


2017年3月26日 19:01 下道 基行 */?>


 日本で古くから石は、信仰の対象、石器や石斧、石臼や漁具の錘などの民具、あるいは道標、さらには建築、土木的資材として、その他様々な用途が与えられてきた。下道が深く関心をよせる民俗学では人々と石にまつわる様々な事例が明らかにされている。石の崇拝について中山笑等の学者達と問答した書簡をまとめた柳田國男『石神問答』 が明治43年に出版されて以降、様々な研究が行われてきた。それらの業績によって、人と石についての営みが実に多様であることが分かり、石に対する想像力がいかに豊かであるかを知ることができる。野本寛一が述べるように、日本人は古くから「石を心と結びつけ、信仰と結びつけ、生活の中心に、心の核心に、場の中心に据えてきた 」ことは確かなのである。
 折口信夫が「石に出で入るもの」の中で「石に宿る」という感性について説明している。内部空間について「うつぼ」を上げ「這入る所のない様に閉ざされて居ながら、何時か物の這入る様に用意されているもの 」とした。うつぼ木のような神聖な木と同じく用語例からは証明できないとしながらも「一番適切に、我々の頭に来るのが、石 」であると述べた。磐座、石神、多くの事例にあるように、人々は霊魂や神の依代として石を器のように捉えてきた。
 また、鑑賞において代表されるものに日本庭園の枯山水がある。それは世阿弥の『風姿花伝』における「秘すれば花」に表れるように、秘められた姿を第一の美としそこに実体を見出すという幽玄思想に導かれた 。敷き詰められた小石に大海を見て、石組みに山や滝を見るというように、石は、見えない風景を見るための装置として人々の心の景色を受け入れてきた。

 《石》(2016年)は、対象を中心に据えた構図になっていて物質としての存在が非常に強く押し出されている印象を受ける。一つ一つの形や質感が丁寧に伝えられていて、まるで意思を持ってそこに佇んでいるようだ。幾つもの石を見ていくうちにこの丸い石は、山の岩のかけらで、ひいては星のかけらだというような、広大で宇宙から俯瞰するような視点と何万年もの時間の奥行きを喚起させる。その姿形からは、昔人が石には霊魂や神が宿るとも考えたように、何ものかを内包していてもおかしくはないと思わせる。ミルチャ・エリアーデは、彫刻家のコンスタンティン・ブランクーシ(1876−1957)にとっての石は聖性顕現であると述べたが 、下道にとっても石は、果てしなく捉えがたく厳かな鉱物であることが伝わってくる。

 《石》のリサーチにおいて黒部市吉田科学館学芸員の久保貴志と朝日町埋蔵文化財施設まいぶんKANの川端典子に現地案内の協力を得た。考古学を専門とする川端は何万年、古生物学を専門とする久保は何億年という時間の中で研究を行う。彼らとの会話の中から、下道の視点は彼らの対象と比較すると、人々の営みを、圧倒的な解像度をもって捉えていることに改めて気がついた。民俗学者達が各地の集落の口承伝承や民話を内側から根気強く調査したように、下道も現地に足を運び、綿密に観察し収集していくことで制作が行われる。少年時代は近くの貝塚や古墳を独自に調査していたと教えてくれたが、考古学の発掘作業のように風景を掘り下げ想像していく。表層では「もの」を捉えながらも、その背景にある出来事や記憶や物語について丁寧に考察し、それらを編集してから作品として提示する。そのような下道作品は時として考現学 の系譜に位置付けられてきた 。福住廉が今和次郎や吉田謙吉の考現学の調査に芸術との共通点を見出し「観察者とはしたがって科学と芸術が重複する地帯を闊歩する者を指している 」と述べたが、それは下道の姿勢にも当てはまるように思う。

 下道は《戦争のかたち》においてモニュメント化されていない軍事施設跡が菜園や民家の物置のように使用されて日常に埋没している様子に関心を抱いた。そしてその姿を美しいと思ったそうだ。それはきっと《torii》にも共通している。これらは機能性が喪失し、長い歳月と変化する環境の中で意味や価値の転覆が起こったものである。下道は「権力的に与えられた意味を市民の生活が無意識に読み替えひっくり返す」こと、例えば、台湾台中市の公園にある鳥居が倒された時の力より、ベンチにして座ってしまうことで権力的なモニュメントとしての意味を剥ぎ取る、人々の日常生活や「(転)用」の力に強く惹かれている 。
 それを自身の行為の中でも模索している。《Re-Fort PROJECT》(2004年-)は、砲台跡の歴史を理解しながら現代にふさわしい使用を検討し試みるもの。例えばそこで、缶蹴りをしたり、花見のようなイベントを開催したり、リノベーションして暮らしてみたりしてきたように、積極的に日常的な行為に転用するところに意味がある。その他には、沖縄のガラス職人たちが戦後、駐留米軍の使用したコカコーラやビールの瓶を再利用して色ガラスを制作したことに着想し、浜辺に漂着したガラスを再利用してコップ等を制作しているプロジェクト《漂白之碑》(2014年-)。第2次世界大戦の戦闘機の機体を再利用し作られた沖縄の民芸品を購入し展示した《ジュラルミン製の皿》(2014年)がある。

 そして、これまでの作品中に表れた日常的な転用の行為は、戦争や侵略というコントラストの強いものと隣り合わせになることでより鮮明になっているのではないか。日常性は相対的に意識され 、社会へ向けられることでより前向きな、いわば「生」への意味合いを帯びる。それは、下道が東日本大震災を契機として制作した《bridge》を通して、改めて日常風景に目を向けていったことにも繋がるだろう。そこで見出されたのも人々による手作りの転用の風景であった。《石》もこの延長上に置くことができる。加えて、もともと意味を持たない石は、価値や役割を与えて使うということが明確に表れる。そのような根源的な視点そして石の持つ宇宙的な時間を重ねることで、これまで近現代を中心に考察してきた「用」の元に時間軸や普遍性についての強度が備わることは明らかである。



ミルチャ・エリアーデ「ブランクーシと神話」『エリアーデ著作集第13巻 宗教学と芸術』(中村恭子他訳)株式会社せりか書房、1975年、pp252-253
「「再考現学/Re-Modernologio」phasa3:痕跡の風景」展、青森公立大学 国際芸術センター青森、会期2012年2月18日〜3月25日、「路上と観察をめぐる表現史−考現学以降」展、広島現代美術館、会期2013年1月26日〜4月7日
福住廉「観察者の歴史と戦後美術の歴史−現代美術の民俗学的転回へむけて」『路上と観察をめぐる表現史 考現学の現在』株式会社フィルムアート社、2013年、p.203

Invisible tales layered within the landscape
Chikako Shakudo

Stones used as weights to prevent an object from flying away in the wind, stones strategically placed to level out a bump in the ground, stones used to fill a small gap, and the stone that must be used inside when making pickles. In the summer last year, Motoyuki Shitamichi (1978- ) became interested in these stones after he came across many such landscapes in the coastal areas around Kurobe City Art Museum, in which the local people had gathered and used stones from the beach in their daily lives. Since that time, he has observed the casual manner in which these stones are used within the landscape.
The surrounding area, with the large and beautifully shaped alluvial fan created by the Kurobe River, is designated as a field museum. Due to the short distance between the mountains and the sea, and the fanned edge of the delta being short, the shoreline does not consist of sandy beaches, but rather, is characterized by pebbled beaches made up of small round stones. The area is also known as the Forty-Eight Riffles. Before the arteries of the river unite into one, numerous riffles fan out in thin mesh like branches, particularly after long spells of rain, and with melting snow; and this characteristic of the area has long been recognized for making transportation difficult.
For these reasons, digging the soil in the area will reveal numerous stones. Stones are also an integral part of the life of the people of the area. Stones from the riverbed and seashore have been used as objects of worship, and they are also used to build stone walls around homes and in fields. This landscape of stones has come to be due to the casual use of stones in ordinary everyday life. When Shitamichi turns his attention to these stones, it also leads us to notice the intimate relationship between them and the local people, and the landscape and topography that has been in the making for over hundreds of thousands of years.

Since ancient times in Japan, stones have been used as objects of religious worship, implements and stone axes, stone mortars, fishing weights, or as signposts. They were also used as building or engineering materials. In folklore, which Shitamichi is deeply interested in, numerous examples entwining people and their use of stones have been uncovered.
Since Kunio Yanagida compiled the notes from dialogues with scholars such as Emu Nakayama in Ishigami Mondo published in 1910, various studies regarding the worship of stones have been carried out. According to these publications, we can see that there is a wide diversity in the relationships between people and stones, and that the imagination people exhibit towards stones is incredibly rich. As Kanichi Nomoto states, there can be no doubt that from ancient times, Japanese people have “…tied stones to their heart, to their religion, placed them at the centre of their lives, and the core of their soul, and the focus of their very foundations.”
Shinobu Orikuchi discusses the sensibilities of dwelling in a stone in Ishi-ni ideiru mono. He points out the concept of utsubo in terms of internal space. According to Orikuchi, “The space is closed as if nothing could be accommodated by it, yet at the same time, it is as if the space has at some time or another, been specifically prepared to accommodate something.” Though he states that he cannot provide evidence of this concept with terminology such as the word utsuboki, used to refer to a sacred tree, “…the most suitable object which comes to mind is a stone.” With numerous examples of dwelling places of Gods and stone deities, people have provided the foundations for rocks to be used as a dwelling or representation of a God or spirit.
An example that can be given as an appreciation of this is the karesansui, the dry landscape rock garden in a traditional Japanese garden. As shown in the concept of if it is hidden, it is a flower in Zeami’s Fushikaden, there is both profound and mysterious beauty in the concealed form, and the prospect of that hidden beauty revealing its true self. Just as we have the ability to be able to see the ocean in small stones spread in a garden, or a waterfall in a rock arrangement, rocks have been given a special place in the hearts of people as a device used to view a concealed landscape.

stone (2016) consists of compositions which focus upon a main object, and we get the impression that the existence of each as a substance is being strongly thrust at us. Each and every form and substance is carefully conveyed, as if each has its own will, and is lingering in that spot. Looking at several of these stones evokes a feeling of brevity at the depth of time, the weight of hundreds and thousands of years. This round stone could not only be a fragment of a mountain cliff, but also a fragment from a planet, and we are viewing it from the immensity of the universe. Just as people once believed that Gods and spirits dwelled in stones based on their appearance, we too come to believe that it would not be so strange if some being were dwelling inside. Mircea Eliade stated that for the sculptor Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), rocks were a holy manifestation. However for Shitamichi, we get the impression that the stone is a majestic and dignified mineral, eternally difficult to grasp.
On the other hand, if we go back and forward between the scenes of numerous stones, and pay careful attention to the background and circumstances, we can imagine the landscape extending from these seemingly cut-out screens. In doing this, we see that each is an incredibly routine and casual scene from a certain area. Though our imagination has flown to the universe, thoughts of an unremarkable daily life vividly come to mind. The very size of this stone is what led it to be an object of worship, while at the same time it was the reason that it also came to be used simply as a daily utensil. In the metaphysical, in the cosmos, in space, and in the mundane, his works capture this polarity, each stone maintaining a balance between the depth of the stone itself, and the common and mundane daily landscape.
In addition to this, Shitamichi believes that a stone itself has no role, rather, it is people who give the stone its role and value. For example, people gathering stones at the riverbed or seashore choose these based on ever so slight differences in weight and size, bearing in mind what the stone will be used for, and then choose the perfect stone to take home. Just as a switch is turned on or off, what was once just a stone is endowed with a purpose. At The Jomon Village in Toyama Kitadai National Historic Site Prefecture, stone tools, which maintain the original shape of the stone, are on display. To give a rough approximation of the size of the stones, each would fit into the palm of your hand.
There are beating stones, slightly longer, that seem easier to grasp, stones with a pit, flatter with traces of an indentation in the center, as if they have been used as saucer for a Beatingr stones, and almost perfectly round stones that must have been used as grinding stones. People in the Jomon Period chose and used these stones based on ever so slight differences. There must also have been stones that they picked up, and did not use for some reason. Those stones are surely still lying around somewhere even now. The display of black and white photographs makes it difficult to pinpoint the era, encouraging us to imagine whether the stones and their activities which Shitamichi has captured, are part of the present age, or from a time in the distant past.

In researching stone, we enlisted the assistance of Takashi Kubo, curator of the Kurobe Yoshida Science Museum, and Noriko Kawabata from the Asahi Town Center for Archeological Operations to provide guidance in the local area. Kawabata specializes in archaeology, and deals with time spanning over tens of thousands of years. Kubo specializes in paleontology and hundreds of millions of years. In conversations with these two specialists, and comparing Shitamichi’s viewpoint with their interests, again we realize that he has captured the life of the people with overwhelming definition. Just as folklorists assiduously research the folktales and oral traditions of the villages in each region, Shitamichi also visited the area, closely observing and gathering information to create his works.
He informed us that when he was a child, he personally investigated nearby shell middens and burial mounds, and we can imagine scenes much like an archaeological dig. While he captures objects on the surface, he also carefully considers the stories, memories and events of the landscape, and after editing these, presents them as a work of art. Such works can be seen as a study in modernology, and have at times been given this pedigree. In their research in modernology, Ren Fukuzumi, Wajiro Kon and Kenkichi Yoshida have found a common denominator with art, stating that “…the observer is, therefore, someone who strides through overlapping regions in art and science.” This could also apply to the stance of Shitamichi.

The polarity in stone, and the diversified viewpoints, is visible in each individual piece of work, and can be seen even if previous series of works are overlooked. Works with historical events as their background, such as bunkers (2001-2005) which covers the ruins of former military bunkers still visible in various parts of Japan, and torii (2006-2015) which observes the forms of torii (gateways to shrines) built outside of Japan during the Colonial period, also document the vastness of nature, and enormity of the passage of time.
On the other hand, bridge (2011), a collection of works capturing bridges made from wooden planks and steel plates suspended over ditches and paths in rice fields; crossover (2012) showing traces of paths made when people or animals step over boundaries; and Mother’s Covers (2013-2015), a record of tissues or plates used as substitutes for lids; were made showing the tiny behaviors within everyday life, originating in the daily affairs of the private life of the artist. The gaze of curiosity has been poured into these in equal value, and the beauty within each of them discovered.
Furthermore, within each of the works, multiple concepts are included: to disappear or remain, transformation, wandering, movement, memories, traces, boundaries, value, and meaning. For example, in Fragments of borders (2012- ), he collected water from rivers which separate communities, and the barbed-wire entanglements of the Korea University. It is possible to imagine the history of the people whose lives were hemmed in by these borders. Further, the fragments of the borders collected are social boundaries, visible only to those people who are aware of them. If we think of them as simply being a substance, speculation regarding their value and meaning is born. In this way, various realizations are derived from the layers in each work as the viewer’s understanding of them deepens.
Also, as the exhibits are composed using diverse methods including photographs, film, actual objects, texts and documents, it is possible to share the sense of Shitamichi’s fast-paced process of observation and discovery, and ponder various matters together.

This exhibition attempts to re-examine the strength of yo(purpose) in several series of Shitamichi’s work. His interests can be traced back to his initial works, and it can be seen that these interests remain the main subject that he continually confronts in producing his works.
torii is a collection of works covering the forms of torii outside the borders of Japan. These torii were constructed as Empire of Japan policy, and even now, though the war is long over, they remain where they were built, changing their forms. The barely visible torii still standing in the dense forest; the torii lingering on grassy plains in full view; the torii that has been converted into a gate to an institution; the torii being used like a telegraph pole by the house built near it, complete with electrical wires and an antenna; and the torii which has been toppled over and is now being used as a bench. When the original meaning of an object has been pushed away by a community that shares the same culture and values, we can see with our own eyes the loss of the original meaning. It is clear that these are remnants that symbolize the memory of the Colonial Period.
On the other hand, if I am to write without being misunderstood, these torii all linger beautifully within the photos; and in some we can sense the atmosphere of daily life. When I first saw the torii series, I remember feeling an impression of multiculturalism first, rather than recognizing and trying to understand the differences in cultural meanings and values. The thoughts that people hold towards the works will no doubt differ greatly depending on the consciousness of the viewer, and the generation to which they belong. However, what leads to the tolerance of various interpretations is the fact that the artist takes a neutral viewpoint, and is attempting to interact with the torii in their current form. This is similar to maintaining the equilibrium as seen in stone. Precisely because the subject with its one directional propaganda is so fascinating, we can tolerate approaching it from a free point of view, and it is then that we first other elements such as the beauty, and the ordinariness of it.
In bunkers, Shitamichi embraces his interest in the circumstances which have been forgotten in the ordinary. In this series he captures ruins of military facilities that have not been monumentalized, and are used either as vegetable gardens or as storage for private homes. He thought their appearance to be beautiful. This concept is also common in torii. These subjects have lost their original function, and through the passage of time, and changes in the environment, their value and meaning has been overturned. Shitamichi is incredibly attracted to the strength of change and purpose, as well as the ordinary aspects of daily life. For him “…meaning which was forced through authoritarian means, has unconsciously been turned upside down by the citizens in their everyday life.” For example, the fact that people now use the fallen torii as a bench in a park in Taichung, in Taiwan, has completely stripped it of its meaning as an authoritarian monument. There is far more power in this than the strength required to actually topple the torii.
He also searches for this in his own actions. While grasping the history of battery ruins, in Re-Fort PROJECT (2004- ) he attempts to examine an appropriate use for these in current times. For example, he has played kick the can there, organized a blossom viewing event, and even attempted to renovate a building and live there, believing there is meaning in the daily act of changing something proactively. In addition to this, while considering glass artisans in Okinawa re-used coca cola and beer bottles of the United States forces stationed there to make colored glass, he came upon the idea for a project to re-use glass that had drifted ashore to make objects such as cups in The monument of “float” (2014- ). He also purchased and exhibited Okinawan handcrafted goods that had been made using World War II fighter aircraft in Duralumin Plates (2004).

The ordinary act of converting an object, is in other words, removing its original yo(purpose). Shitamichi does not just beautify an object one-sidedly, but also examines the effects and phenomena with a broad perspective. However, we must recognize how far these acts have caused history, memory and the landscape to progress.
In works to date, the day to day act of putting an object to another use appears side by side with war and aggression, providing a sharp contrast. This relative awareness of the mundane, and being able to turn towards society, bears the implication of a positive existence. Through bridge, which Shitamichi produced after the Great East Japan Earthquake, he once again turns his gaze to the everyday landscape.
What he discovered in that, was a landscape of people converting objects by hand. Stones can also be thought of as an extension of this. Moreover, it becomes expressly apparent that stones which originally have no meaning, are given a role and value, and are used for a specific purpose. Together with this fundamental viewpoint, layered with the vastness of time the stone has seen, the intensity of time and universality can be added to purpose, which has to date been examined centering on modern times.
Shitamichi moves towards the future while travelling through the past. At times, discovering the workings of stones, at other times, feeling the history and memories of stones. While going back and forth between the micro and macro, he gazes intently at the invisible tales layered within the landscape. Compared to the hundreds and thousands of years of time stones have seen, our existence is but a grain of sand in time. Even so, with the accumulation of the ordinary, we are moving the landscape, and the world, forward.

Kurobe City Art Museum


2015年10月15日 17:23 下道 基行 */?>

Shitamichi Motoyuki (born 1978, Okayama, lives in Nagoya) is a ‘traveling’ artist, known for his interest in borders. In the course of his wanderings, drifting from place to place without a specific destination, he accumulates objects that he stumbles upon, often relating to symbolic sites of exchange, or he photographs examples of hidden border crossings, such as the derelict remains of torii (shrine gates), encountered in foreign lands once occupied by Japan, or the Remnants of wartime bunkers, scattered around the islands’ coastline. In the Bridge project, Motoyuki took photographs of everyday ad hoc structures, such as a plank of wood, a concrete slab or even an upturned skateboard, that people had improvised into bridges so as to cross day-to-day boundaries, such as a ditch or a gap in the footpath. For the Dojima River Biennale, he created a number of new projects in relation to the idea of borders, and transformation, under the umbrella title of Floating Monuments, exploring the concept of “drifting/staying”, and the notion that “things that look solid are in fact liquid”. For the work, Original Boundary, the artist used samples of seawater, scooped up from the disputed ocean border between Japan and Taiwan from the side of a fishing boat, which he then sold in the Biennale shop, in small bottles, as a limited edition of 100. He also presented an installation of new works made on the Japanese island of Okinawa (a major base for the US military, since WWII), entitled Okinawan Glasses, using glass bottles swept ashore from across the Pacific Ocean by the Kuroshio current, out of which he crafted a range of recycled Ryukyu glassware. Alongside this he placed a ‘duralumin’ plate, found in an Okinawan thrift store, made from the recycled metal of WWII fighter planes (still bearing the ‘Watertown’ stamp of the original US plate that was used to cast it). Behind this display of battered bottles, recycled metalware and beautifully flawed glasses, arranged along the counter of a shiny bar, Motoyuki projected a video, Tsunami Rocks, showing the artist gathering up these washed-up bottles from the beaches of Okinawa, whilst wandering amongst the giant boulders deposited on the island during a tsunami that took place 240 years earlier. Motoyuki’s poetics of ‘drift’ problematizes our assumptions about borderlines, values and exchange. How do you find a value for a particular sample of seawater, from a particular place, that challenges its generality as just ‘seawater’? Is the water more valuable because it derives from the disputed borderline between two rival nations? Or because it has been presented for our attention by an artist? In the imaginary process of valuation, what does it mean to attach the flotsam and jetsam of time to particular narratives of history in order to invest them with significance?

Tom Trevor (independent curator and writer)


2015年8月 1日 07:56 下道 基行 */?>

皆既日食で薄暗くなった白昼の空に花火を打ち上げ、その風景を眺め、響き渡る音に聴き入ったのは2009年の夏だった。花火は北九州市和布刈(めかり)公園の高台にある砲台跡地から打ち上げられ、我々は関門海峡を挟んだ下関側の戦争遺構跡がある火の山公園の展望台で、ビデオカメラを手にその様子を眺めていた。震災が起こる以前だったが、少し不吉な暗さをもつ空に美しい花火が散る様を眺めるのは、かつてあった、そしてこれからも世界のどこかで起こるかもしれない戦争について想いを巡らせ、日常生活が何らかの要因で突然途絶えてしまう可能性があることを意識するには充分な経験だった。下道基行を中心に僕も含め5人のメンバーが主催した《Re-Fort PROJECT 5─太陽が隠れるとき、僕らの花火が打ちあがる》の概要を書き出すとこんなところだろう。あれから既に5年が経過していた。


日本の海岸線には、戦争のためにつくられた建築が役目を終え、姿を変えつつもまだ多数残存している。これらの建築の多くは実際に戦闘で使用されたことはほとんどなく、外敵の侵入を防ぐための監視の場、あるいは抑止力として機能していた。外敵を見張るために遠くまで眺められる必要がある軍事施設は、常に見晴らしのよい場所に設置された。この戦争建築がそもそも本質的に備える特性に着目したのが、《Re-Fort PROJECT 6─海を眺める方法》だ。兵士に替わって画家が、武器を絵筆に持ち替え、海を眺めその先にみえる風景を描く。絵画は風景を記録する方法として重要なメディアである。


『Time sharing』沖縄

2015年4月24日 09:39 下道 基行 */?>

 今回沖縄では、検索システムと実際の出会いから生まれる文脈を相互に辿りながら、物質の収集というアプローチを作家は採用している。境界をはさんでせめぎ合う他者の歴史が閉じ込められた民具やガラス瓶、海水を、地域の実際の生活に近いところで収集した。写真撮影という手段を取らなかったのは、出会いのあり方や体験の強度がより重視されているからだろう。一瞬で撮影され、消費され、複製される画像情報よりも、物質と文字によって間接的に体験を置き換えることを望んだのだ。よって収集物はスーベニールのような趣を持つ。それは、全体の一部しか示唆せず、不透明であり一回性の体験そのものの「額縁」として永続的に記憶を下支えする。 (註11) こうして集められた収集物は、作家個人の体験認識的な小宇宙を構成する「驚異の部屋(Wunderkammern)」のようでもある。


11.津上英輔「Souvenir ―観光体験の額縁」西村清和編『日常性の環境美学』勁草書房、2012年、p.244

Motoyuki Shitamichi pursues a way of sharing common memories, collecting the traces where the subject encounters grand history and the environment, and they are intermingled each other. From a distance he thinks in a unique perspective to general situation but in fact he reacts responding to every agencies that he encounters. Then, without any romanticism or any message of ideology, he takes a neutral stance between those with opposing and contentious views. He eliminates the particuler meaning of the monument and picks up the pieces of living memory that circulates in people. So doing, he replaces them with new functions and causal relationships.
It is his distinguished approach to combine conflicting criteria of synchronicity over different locations and changing times in the same location, to establish whether something is to be shared or belongs to individuals. He presents such tracks in refined and simplified composition. In his early career, the bunkers series consisted of photos taken in the ruins of military architecture, bunkers and pillboxes that remain throughout Japan. Not only did he reproduce the landscape to give it another function, he engaged with the local people, and completed his itinerary with the sounds and warmth of the people.
On the other hand, the Re-Fort project was a compilation of the recollections that people shared during a meeting in the same war ruins. His attempt differs from the Counter Monument: he does not evoke the beholder by a visual memory of war, he alters the progression of the event according to others’ memories. This dual aspect artist, tracing both the grand structure that is integrated into history, and tracing private relationships with others, is often described as "side A and side B".(n.10) In torii photo-books, the symbolic visual aspect looks stronger. It is the typology, and therefore the journey following the former contour of the outside of Japan, that is supposed to increase the sense of uncertainty. In the artist’s diary, with the progression of time, we can glimpse the narrative story of people who lived around the national border where they were forced to coexist with different cultures who had penetrated the border. In recent years, because the artist has had increasing opportunities to exhibit in museums and internationally exhibitions, it seems slightly distinguish since he works in the private field and process oriented activities.
During the sojourn in Okinawa, his research did not include photography even though he is primarily known as a photographer. He did online research and tried to create context by collecting materials. He sampled seawater, collected glass bottles and duralumin from living scenes. In local residences, he sampled fragments of historical evidence on the opposite side of the border. He did not adopt the approach of taking photos, probably because he wanted to emphasis the intensity of the experience. Photos are taken in a moment, the image data, once copied and reproduced is wasted rapidly, and the experience of the event is fleeting.
He wanted to represent the experience in this indirect way by material and words. These collected objects have the character of souvenirs. It suggests only a part of the whole and preserves the memory permanently stored as a frame that capture the moment of the transition experience.(n.11) Thus, the collection constitutes a microcosm of personal experiences like a ‘Cabinet of curiosities (Wunderkammern)’.
Monument fragments of big structures were mixed and suspended in the air, refrigerators, storage cases, specimen boxes and other devices separate the beholders from objects that used to actively be exchanged among people. It is like a time capsule where we save the distortion and disconnection of time.
He is a constant traveler. He experiences the real world as he edits photo books and samples specimens: he makes full use of his experiences as he would make full use of various formats. Any location or any medium (media) is also only a relative aspect for him that is determined by the relative relationship with a stretch of time. In his collections, he looks for hidden details in everyday life to portray. He engages these acts without delimiting his surrounding life, therefore it is required to frame one scene of everyday life and displace it to another site. Furthermore, he needs to make a modest gap of the stages between art and society.

Uraka Hijikata(curator)

10. Hiroyuki Hattori, "A-side and B-side Story of what is in between the two sides", Artist HP
11.Eisuke Tsugami,"Souvenir-frame of the experience in tourism" , Kiyokazu Nishimura(edit), Aesthetics in daily Environment, 2012, p.244


2014年2月13日 08:35 下道 基行 */?>




2013年3月 3日 22:40 下道 基行 */?>



「MOTアニュアル2012 Making Situations, Editing Landscapes 風が吹けば桶屋が儲かる」展(東京都現代美術館)カタログより改変


Motoyuki Shitamichi shows us “shapes” that are present but escape our notice. In Remnants (2001–2005), he discovered, recorded, and introduced old defensive structures in Japan, including gun emplacements and fighter aircraft hangars that constitute part of the landscape but are used for different purposes such as barns. In his Re-Fort Project (2004–), he has given new functions to these war relics (which no longer function as they were originally designed) by using them as venues for kick-the-can games or fireworks events. Through these activities, Shitamichi connects the past with the present, and links missing memories with the remaining structures. There are some things that pass unnoticed in our daily lives and that we avoid looking at: Shitamachi makes us aware that they have melted into the landscape but remain as shapes.
The Torii series is a project that Shitamichi has been working on since 2006. He has visited and photographed torii that are located outside Japan’s current national border. Torii were built in the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory), Northeast China (former Manchuria), Taiwan, South Korea, and Sakhalin (a Russian territory). His works show that, after the war, their shapes and uses have been changed to suit the local cultures and lifestyles in respective countries. In Saipan, torii remain intact at cemeteries; those in South Korea have been destroyed and no longer exist. In Taichung City, a torii is laid on its side and used as a park bench. Torii, which represent a symbolic shape in Shintoism, have lost their significance as symbols but remain in shapes different from their original forms. In this way, Shitamichi focuses on how symbolic shapes can be transformed into non-symbolic objects.

Torii are also considered as barriers (borders) to distinguish the sacred from the secular. Indeed, Shitamichi’s torii project is synonymous with his discussions about borders. Torii located outside Japan’s national border look different depending on the historical view, political situation, and culture of respective countries. The difference is attributed not only to the regime and large events such as war, but also to the gradual change in people’s daily lives. As life continues, memories of large events gradually fade due to the accumulation of small events. The consecution of small events transforms the landscape before people realize it. The torii that Shitamichi focuses on in this series encompass the time series in terms of both large historical events and small personal events. He borrows the landscape to provide the audience with opportunities to contemplate upon the visible/invisible, existent/nonexistent borders. In general, the Japanese people are too sensitive or try to distance themselves from issues regarding the national border, territory, and state, because they are not accustomed to focusing on such issues. Shitamichi boldly takes up these issues and quietly upsets the concept of “Japan” or “the Japanese people.” His works reveal relative, fluid, and personal borders that are different from those created by political ideologies or historical objectivity.

Mihoko Nishikawa (curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

Quoted from the catalog of MOT Annual 2012: Making Situations, Editing Landscapes (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo) (edited as necessary)

《戦争のかたち/ Remnants》

2012年7月19日 20:51 下道 基行 */?>





Inspired by the discovery of some "rough and unnatural ruins," or more precisely the remains of an electrical-power substation that was riddled with countless bullet holes, Shitamichi Motoyuki set out on a journey in search of war remnants such as bunkers, forts, and shelters. He published his findings, recorded in a series of photographs he took from 2001 to 2005, in a 2005 book titled Bunkers. Although his initial encounters with these ruins led to a strong awareness of the battles that had actually unfolded in these places, as he visited more of the sites, Shitamichi says, "My interest gradually shifted toward the actual landscapes, which were produced by the unnatural erosion that had occurred between the remnants of war and their surroundings." Some of the ruins he discovered had dissolved into the landscape, and others had been repurposed to function in a manner that was different than the original intention. Shitamichi not only went in search of these relics in Japan but also in areas that had been occupied by Japan, such as Jeju Island in South Korea and Taiwan.

Although he captures the remnants of war in a calm landscape as a single frame cut out of everyday life, there is no sign of the tragic calamity of conflict. The buildings, which call up unspeakable memories of the past, have been transformed into enjoyable and relaxing places such as flower beds and monkey mountains by the government or utilized as residences or sheds by individuals. Whether attempting to conceal the negative nature of the ruins or reuse them, the conversion of the original concept behind them suggests a strong sense of hope and the existence of other options.

Naoko Sumi (curator, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art)


2012年4月 3日 20:32 下道 基行 */?>

 また「旅」での蒐集物が彼の作品を形成する主要素となる。その探求蒐集は多岐に渡り、全国各地に点在する戦争遺構を撮影した《戦争のかたち》、現在の日本の国境の外側に存在する鳥居を捉えた《torii》、祖父が描いた絵画の行方を追いその絵と設置された空間を写す《日曜画家/Sunday painter》、無名の創造者が日々つくり続ける創作物を蒐集する《Sunday creators》、どこにでもある境界をつなげる一枚の板など最小限の構造物を「橋」と定義し各地でスナップした《bridge》など、一見散漫な興味のもとバラバラなものを追っているように思われる。しかし下道が鋭い観察眼と好奇心をもって発見し愛でるように蒐集するものには、下記三項目の共通点がある。



 一方で「B面」の代表的な作品は《RIDER HOUSE》だろう。これは《戦争のかたち》の制作のために北海道を旅した下道がバイカーのための宿「ライダーハウス」に宿泊したことで、その面白さを発見し蒐集したものだ。宿ごとに形成される独自ルールや空間があったり、そこに滞在する多様なバックグラウンドをもつ人々に出会ったりと、その状況自体が下道には興味深く感じられ、戦争遺構の撮影の裏側で、ライダーハウスで出会う人やその生活をスナップ的に撮り溜めていたそうだ。《戦争のかたち》のための旅の裏側を捉えた《RIDER HOUSE》の写真群は、その当時の下道の日々やライダーたちの生態が想起されるものがあり、その裏側的魅力に惹き付けられるまさにB面的作品となっている。




”A-side and B-side
Story of what is in between the two sides”

SHITAMICHI Motoyuki is a traveling artist. In a literal sense, he is a “traveler-type” artist who creates works while staying and living in different parts of the country, but what is more appropriate to his case is that we can grasp his creative activity more clearly when we compare it to “traveling.” Types of traveling could be roughly grouped into two kinds: one is that the final goal of the traveler is to reach the destination he has planned, and the other is that the traveler does not decide on his destination and appreciates being on the road, seeking encounters with town, people and things in the process of movement. Shitamichi pursues these two poles depending on the nature of his work. If the former type of activity/work with the definite destination (subject) is defined as “A-side” (of a record or CD), the latter type is defined as “B-side,” in which the target is not specific or the process itself is valued of observing unexpected by-products he finds as he goes towards a certain target. It seems that Shitamichi travels back and forth between the A-side and the B-side keeping a balance in order to supplement his activity of crossing the two poles. For example, he produces B-side type of pieces in the process of aiming for the A-side.
His accumulation of things that he has collected in “traveling” constitutes the main element of the formation of his works. His search and accumulation are wide-ranging: In “Bunkers” (fig.1), war ruins scattered throughout the country are photographed, “torii” depicts torii (shrine gate) that remain outside present borders of Japan, “Sunday painter” (fig.2) shows places where his grandfather’s paintings are, which he traveled looking for, and the space with them., “Sunday creator” (fig.3) displays the collection of things produced continuously by nameless creators, and in “bridge,” snapshots he took at different places show items of minimum structure like a piece of board connecting boundaries found everywhere, which he defined as “bridge.” At first sight, he seems to be pursuing disconnected things in a distracted way, but there are three points in common as in the following concerning those which he has collected with his sharp observing eye and curiosity.

1) They are made valuable through small personal discoveries
2) They are given a form and function through one’s acts
3) They have some sort of story or memory in the context of their formation

I’d like to discuss the subject from the above-mentioned assumption.
“Bunkers” (fig.4), which was published in 2005 and acted as a trigger to draw attention to his work, captures the present state of war ruins such as a pillbox, artillery battery, and aircraft bunker built for military purposes. Some bunker is now used as someone’s dwelling, and the base of some artillery battery has been transformed into a flower garden. Thus, by capturing situations which continue to exist as revived scenery remarkably transformed after being totally deprived of the military function, he visualizes the fact that the wartime of only some yeardecades ago and the present time are connected adjacently, or he expresses clearly human originality, creativity and vitality that arise out of necessity. Presenting the landscape, he makes us think of a diversity of histories and stories behind the scenes.
The torii series contains photos of existing torii, which suggest that Japanese people once lived outside the present borders. They are not necessarily intended to display Japan’s history of conquest, but they provide a sign that Japanese people lived there for various reasons like Japanese emigrants who formed a Japanese quarter. One of the torii left with the surface painted snow-white is surrounded by Christian gravestones while another torii is pulled down and used as a bench. They are thus given totally new functions and values by people living there today and make new landscape.
As “war ruins” and “torii” collected in “Bunkers” and “torii” respectively have stayed at the same place over many years, their powerful presence appeals to us whatever conversion might be made. Each is definitely an A-side type of work, because he intentionally searched for and captured its great existence located at a specific place. Although none of them is a well-known monument, they have the power of existence, and are made into artworks following the orthodox rule of photography, that is, to make the subject into a monument by pursuing it as the target.

On the other hand, his important B-side type of work is probably “RIDER HOUSE” (fig.6). When he made a trip around Hokkaido for the production of “Bunkers,” he stayed at a “rider house,” a lodging for bikers, which he thought was interesting and began its collection of pictures. What interested him was, for example, that each rider house had its own established rules or there were encounters with sojourners from different backgrounds. As the situation itself was interesting, he took snapshots of people he encountered at rider houses, took pictures of their lives and saved them up behind his job of photographing war ruins. Groups of such photos of “RIDER HOUSE,” which captured the hidden side of the trip for “Bunkers,” show us vividly of Shitamichi’s daily life at the time as well as the riders’ lifestyle. This is exactly B-side type of work attracting us by its behind-the-scenes appeal.
For the exhibition at ACAC, “crossover” (fig.7), a new residency production in Aomori and “bridge” that was produced last year and reconstructed anew have been combined, so that his recent B-side type of activities are in spotlight. What the two works share in common is that certain acts of people have given them a form and meaning. As to crossover, it has stemmed from his experience in the past when he found a road and took a photo of that road, which was formed by traces of people’s acts─people and animals walked back and forth along the path where there was originally no road, and grass stopped growing. The surface of the earth began to appear and finally a road-like strip of ground was left there. As an extension of this approach, he collected, while walking through snowy places in Aomori, such a road as formed by footprints around a small bar set up on a lot between a supermarket and the street or at borderlines between two different parts of land which people stepped across. When people step across a bar partly buried in snow, their footprints are left on both sides of it. When other people see those footprints, they begin to cross it there, and as a result, what appeared to be a path becomes a real road. Meanings and functions are given through the engraved traces of people’s acts.
In order to position the bar in the center, Shitamichi held his camera right above it, and photographed roads formed by traces and collected them. Rather than searching for the specific site of such a road, he must have discovered them in the process of daily living. Though it is possible that they exist all over the place, it is difficult to actually look for them, because their conditions are constantly changing: they appear someday but disappear some other day depending on the circumstances of snowfall and snow removal. This act of cutting out and collecting those roads, which he happens to encounter in his everyday life is quite a B-side type of work.
As to his way of exhibiting what he discovered and collected, he pays attention to the smallest detail. Although, on most occasions, photos are framed or mounted for display on a wall, he decides on how to display them depending on the quality of the subject that he has captured in the photo. For “crossover,” in which “roads” discovered in his travel are photographed by his digital camera like snapshots, eleven pieces in total are printed in monochrome of the size 123.5x83cm and pasted directly on the corridor-shaped floor of gallery A with spray glue. And a projector showed 35mm positive film slides, which captured the moment when a person seen from the front stepped over a bar, in a small size on the wall.
In the inner part of the exhibition room is “bridge” (fig.8). This collection contains what he defined as “bridge,” those of minimum structure, which can be seen everywhere connecting this side and that side. Shitamichi noticed them while traveling around all over the country on his motorcycle from March through August 2011. They are, for example, a log put across a waterway between the footpaths of fields, bricks and concrete blocks placed quietly to remove the level difference between a garage and the road, or a board to moor a boat alongside the quay. Though their roles present an infinite variety, he calls the minimum structure connecting little gaps “bridge,” and has found delight in an amusing quality in the landscape transformed by modest creativity coming out of necessity in our daily life. A total of 280 pieces of “bridge” is printed in size A4 along with the shooting date. They are arranged in a single horizontal row on all four sides of the wall in the exhibition room, and go further across the passageway, washroom, etc. pasted with spray glue on a line of the same height. On a table placed on the center of the exhibition room are a map of Aomori city with a plot of roads discovered by him, and a map of Japan with marked traces of his motorcycle tour to photograph “bridge,” which took him about half a year. Here, his intention of putting “crossover” and “bridge” in the same category is explicit. The medium that Shitamichi mainly uses is photography, but by displaying items like maps, which remind us of his trips as object, he tries to present his works from all angles so that viewers can picture a story behind each photo of “road” and “bridge.” His way of spatial composition to value this sort of process and his choice of quantitative and improvisatorial merits of a digital camera show a great deal his B-side type of attitude. What he would not do is to select only photogenic “road” and “bridge,” enlarge them, put them in frames and arrange them on the wall in neat order. His way, on the other hand, seems to be “loose” or “aggressive” at first glance, because, for instance, he pastes his works directly on the floor or continues pasting them on the walls on and on. By boldly putting what is usually thrown away as a surplus along with photos, he encourages us to search for our memories hidden behind surplus parts including such discoveries.
The fun that the B-side type of world presents to us is not to rush to the destination on a superhighway, but, to make various unexpected discoveries while moving around lazily along small roads (let me share his name Shitamichi: shita=under, michi=-road with him), stopping off at different places to enjoy changing landscape. No doubt it is important for us to push forward intently to the definite goal, but it is also indispensable for us to have time to make a detour to experience and absorb what we did not intend to do. Keeping a balance by smoothly connecting the A-side with the B-side, Shitamichi is intensifying his expression slowly but steadily.

HATTORI Hiroyuki (curator, Aomori Comtemporary Art Centre)



高橋 瑞木(水戸芸術館現代美術センター学芸員)

(1)Susan Sontag, An Argument about Beauty, Daedalus, Vol. 131, 2002



The Freedom to Say That "It Is Beautiful"

Mizuki Takahashi / curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito

I would like to consider the issue of stating "beauty" by examining the works of Mami, Motoyuki Shitamichi, and mamoru. It must be worth discussing about it because of the fact that people no longer respond to the art works saying that it is "beautiful" anymore. Suzan Sontag, a critique, once wrote that the people recently tend to employ the word "interesting" instead of "beauty." In her essay, "An Argument about Beauty"(1), she raised an "interesting" discussion about how "beauty" as a word representing a sense of value has been replaced by "interesting."
The word "beauty" tends to give such an impression that it is referring to a standardized form; the form nearly stands as something absolute, together with a set of value which is rigid and restrictive. The alternatives that deviate from it are most likely to be excluded. Therefore, people prefer to say "it is interesting," hoping that it implies much broader and flexible senses of values rather than this binding and conservative "beauty". The word "interesting" is surely convenient as an opinion on the work that you cannot appreciate or understand at a first glance. You can avoid making your clear standpoint and postpone your final judgment on it for a while.
Mami, Shitamichi, and mamoru practice and realize their art with different media: body, photography, and sound. However, instead of producing art objects, all of them create ephemeral moments that do not have any physical shape, such as relationship between people, and the awareness to the subtle gestures that we normally do not pay any attention to. Therefore if I define art as the fabrication of the objects, then their artistic practices are off the grid, and in this regard, their works are "interesting". But I am reluctant to label them as just being "interesting" since I find the notion of “beauty” underneath their practices. They discover “beauty” in the humor that is brought into being through communication among people, in the everyday creativity that is indistinct and that may only last for a short while, and in the sound of the everyday objects that we use without any care. These three artists look into those elements with their affections and mold them into the art works.
They draw you into the understated yet fundamental "beauty." Therefore their artistic practices that we would be witnessing can be understood whether it is "now here" or "nowhere", any place where people run their lives around. They invite us towards the opposite direction of the current art world, which is market-driven, and full of commercial art productions. This is why I feel encouraged when I observe or learn about what these three artists are doing. I can feel free to say that "it is beautiful" in everyday basis, and feel also free to believe that art can break the chains of our hesitation and give us freedom to say that "it is beautiful."

(1) Susan Sontag, An Argument About Beauty, Daedalus, Vol. 131, 2002


2011年8月22日 16:13 下道 基行 */?>

gallery αMで開催されている、3人のキュレーターによる連続企画展「成層圏 Stratosphere」。今回は高橋瑞木のキュレーションで、「風景の再起動」の3回目として下道基行の作品展が開催された。下道は2004年から日本各地に残る戦争遺跡を「再利用して」記録していく「Re-Fort」のシリーズを制作しており(リトルモアから2005年に写真集『戦争のかたち』として刊行)、今回はその第6回目の展示の予定だった。ところが、「3.11」以降に心境の変化があり、急遽用水路などに架かっている小さな板きれのようなものを撮影した写真を展示することになったのだという。A4判ほどにプリントされた各写真には、「11/05/17 09:18」といった撮影の日時が付されている。実は下道はいま、日本全国を震災直後に購入した小さなバイクで移動しており、これらの「橋」を見つけるとすぐに撮影し、データをギャラリーのプリンターに送信し続けている。プリンターから出力された写真は、随時壁に貼り出され、その数は会期中にどんどん増えていくわけだ。




2010年11月24日 09:26 下道 基行 */?>

Following leads from relatives and family friends, photographer Shitamichi Motoyuki traced the whereabouts of all the portraits and landscapes that were left behind by his grandfather, who had been a ‘Sunday painter’, and set about photographing them in their current domestic environments.

The paintings, representing various people and plein-air sceneries once seen by the late grandfather, have now been documented in their fixed positions within these new interior settings, then reproduced as photographic prints, and are now on temporary display as part of another living space at Tokyo Wonder Site’s artist residency complex in Aoyama.

Screening the bathroom mirror, sitting on chairs or straddling unmade beds, the images are treated as new physical objects amongst the generic furniture – the homely spaces they depict standing in sharp contrast to the impersonal and distinctly un-lived-in rooms housing them.

As with his other bodies of work, the Sunday Painter project considers questions of memory and its relationship to images, and prompted the artist to conduct research while trekking all over the country.

For his first peripatetic series Bunkers (2001-2005), he travelled around on his motorbike documenting deteriorating WWII ruins in ordinary settings, some of which had become playgrounds and garages; in another he recorded neglected torii gates at ancient Shinto shrine remains from Japan’s former colonies that have been incorporated into the natural landscape, or in some cases used as public benches.

Roaming around mapping these near-forgotten spaces, he is making an inquiry into how memories are contained in landscapes and in what ways the act of photographing them, placing them within new images, changes their status.

Giving yet another layer of re-presentation, Michi’s Sunday Painter exhibition at Art Tower Mito – now recreated for the Tokyo Wonder Site open studio – is accompanied by a beautiful new self-published book, where the artist’s own sketches of his grandfather’s paintings appear on folded pages that can be cut open to reveal reproductions of the ‘original’ canvases behind them.

amelia groom


2010年10月 5日 12:05 下道 基行 */?>

 国内に遺る戦争遺跡や旧占領地に建てられた鳥居を追跡調査してつくった他の作品に比べると、私的な性質が際立つ本作《日曜画家/Sunday Painter》は、日曜画家だった祖父の遺した油彩を下道本人が訪ねつくった、写真とお手製の本からなるシリーズ作品だ。
 祖父の絵を追うという自ら定めたルールにそって、下道が人びとを訪ね、彼/彼女らの記憶を収集し編集した《日曜画家/Sunday Painter》は、「かたち」を与えられた記憶を通じて、どこか懐かしい身近な物語を見る者に伝える。すると、似たような想い出が鑑賞者の内奥からも呼び出され、それに付随する逸話が浮かび上がってきはしないだろうか。もしそうだとすれば、自らの「記憶」という名の「物語」に耳を傾けてみるのも一興だ。


"Memories transformed into stories"

Shitamichi Motoyuki, who wanted to become an archeologist when he was young, has now become a camera-toting artist. The things that captured his interest as a boy, however, seem not to have changed much. Shitamichi visits places where trace of specific histories and memories remain, in forms that are both tangible and intangible. He interviews the people associated with a particular place or object, collecting information about their memories and recording the results of his research in the form of photographs, occasionally presenting his own thoughts and musings on these topics as part of his work. the subject of his research ranges from social themes to individual anecdotes, but what all of Shitamichi's work shares in common is its field study approach: first-hand investigations that consist in verifying facts using his own senses, and making direct contact with the memories that lie embedded in places and objects.
 Compared with other works that emerged as a result of follow-up investigations of war ruins in Japan and torii gates (typically found at the entrance to Shinto shrines) in Japan's former territories, "Sunday Painter" has a conspicuously personal tone to it. Comprising several photos and a handmade book, this series was created after several visits spent tracking down some oil painting left behind by his grandfather, an amateur artist.
Curiously enough, however, although the subjects of these photos are the works left behind by his grandfather, their focus is not always on the paintings. In some of photos, the paintings are removed from the center of the composition, and others are even somewhat unfocused. The photographer's gaze appears to be trained not so much on paintings, but rather on their current owners and the rooms that reveal something about their lives. In other words, what Shitamichi captures in this work through his photographs is the things and people that surround these paitings.
The book that accompanies the photographs, on the other hand, focuses on the rich variety of memories related to Shitamichi's grandfather that were told to him by the recipients of the paintings. Transcribed into stories written in a colloquial style, the recounted memories retain the accent, tone of voice and expressions unique to each person. Shitamichi's style of writing, which makes use of the distinctive voice of each speaker, gives the reader the impression that this is a faithful rendering of the material that was collected during his research. What we see, however, is nothing but a selective part of what was actually recounted to the artist. Just as memory is often said to be edited, elements with any truth to them become unconsciously exaggerated, while other parts are completely forgotten about. The memories recounted by the owners of the paintings in the work, as it turns out, are no exception. To put it another way, this book is a kind of "story" based on dramatized truths, recounted in the form in the form of "memories" that Shitaimichi father edited and polished.
History and memory are often transformed by human subjectivity without us ever being aware of it. Shitamichi's gaze is trained not on the tangible remnants or concrete traces left behind by history, but rather the things that undergo a metamorphosis, losing the contours of their from and becoming only a vague recollection in our subconscious. One of the things that he has done through this work is to restore a semblance of from to memories that have been shifted or distorted in the interval between the past and the present and become misshapen, so to speak. In so doing, Shitamichi teases out anecdotes whose faint traces still remain in the minds of these individuals, and reworks them into stories.
For "Sunday Painter," Shitamichi set himself the task of tracking down his grandfather's painting. by paying visits to the owners of the paintings to collect their memories, he transformed them into his own work through the act of editing. These recollections, which have recovered some sort of "shape" thanks to Shitamichi, recount to the viewer stories that are somehow nostalgic and familiar. Similar memories are evoked in the deepest recesses of the viewer's mind-and along with them, perhaps the anecdotes attached to those memories will also start to rise to the surface. If they do, perhaps the viewer will find his/her own joy in listening to the stories that their own so-called memories have been transformed into.

Yuu Takehisa (curetor, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito)


2009年2月28日 19:32 下道 基行 */?>


廣瀬就久 (岡山県立美術館学芸員)

The subjects of SHITAMICHI Motoyuki's photographs are unusual landscapes that he discovers during his travels, and he is chiefly concerned with the memories of the past that they contain.
He photographs abandoned military structures and equipment, such as pillboxes and batteries, that have been left to deteriorate during the 60 years since World War Ⅱ. Although these images may cause people to think about the negative aspects of the war, the artist does not intend to make a histrical point. He is primarily interested in the strangeness and abruptness of the presence of wartime ruins in an ordinary landscape. He is also attracted to the strange formal qualities of these objects. By basing his work on this subject, he traces apart of the history of this country which is being forgotten.
In the [Pictures] series, included in this exhibition, he focuses on pictures painted by his late grandfather. After obtaining information from relatives and acquaintances, he looked up the current owner of paintings created by his grandfather, a Sunday Painter, and photographed them in their current environment. The paintings, executed by the hand of the same artist, appear in a number of different and unrelated spaces, showing an interesting incongruity. In addition, tracing the whereabouts of these paintings about his owners, he learned more about his grandfather's life, which he knew only vaguely.
Shitamichi lives overseas at present, and he finds the energy for making art in discoveries made on his travels. how will his work develop after the experience of this current project? I will de watching it with interest.

HIROSE Naruhisa
[Curator, The Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art ]


2009年2月17日 14:39 下道 基行 */?>

上野の森美術館で「VOCA 展2008」が開催されている。VOCA展は全国の美術館学芸員・ジャーナリスト・研究者などに40才以下の若手作家の推薦を依頼し、その作家が平面作品の新作を出品するという方式で行われており、今年で15回目を迎えるものである。賞は「VOCA賞」1名、「VOCA奨励賞」2名、「佳作賞」2名、その他に「大原美術館賞」と「府中市美術館賞」が1人ずつに授与されており、公式サイトでは受賞作品の画像も見ることができる。






2009年1月 1日 15:28 下道 基行 */?>



『戦争のかたち-Mémoires de guerre-』

2008年7月 5日 07:04 下道 基行 */?>

『Mémoires de guerre』
Exposition de photos par SHITAMICHI Motoyuki
Du 29 avril au 10 mai 2008

A l'instar de ceux qui se trouvent le long des côtes françaises, de nombreux bunkers ont été construits au Japon au cours de la guerre du Pacifique.
Pourtant rares sont les personnes qui en connaissent l'existence.
Un jour après son travail à l'université, le photographe HITAMICHI Motoyuki est tombé par hasard sur l'une de ces constructions en béton dans la banlieue de Tokyo. Cette rencontre l'a beaucoup marqué. Quelques mois plus tard, il est retourné à l'endroit où se trouvait ce bâtiment. Il avait disparu remplacé par une supérette. Voilà pourquoi il a décidé de faire le tour du Japon avec son appareil photo à la recherche de ces vestiges de guerre.
Plus de soixante ans après la fin du conflit, le paysage japonais a profondément changé, mais ces bâtisses en béton continuent à le marquer de leur présence. Ayant perdu toute leur utilité guerrière, elles ont été transformées en hangars, en bacs à fleurs, en bacs ou en maisons
SHITAMICHI Motoyuki appartient à cette génération dont les parents n'ont pas connu la guerre. Il a donc voulu diriger son appareil photo vers ces espaces étranges qui s'effacent de notre mémoire et nous rappellent la réalité de la guerre. Au milieu des paysages de paix, il a voulu capturer cette atmosphère étrange qui se dégage des vestiges de la guerre qui apparaissent au centre des photographies.
Ces œuvres n'ont pas pour vocation de rapporter la réalité ou l'histoire de la guerre. SHITAMICHI Motoyuki n'est pas historien. En tant que photographe, il cherche à donner les moyens au public de réfléchir à la mémoire de la guerre, à déterminer comment elle s'inscrit dans le quotidien des gens, quelle place elle occupe et comment il conviendrait de la raconter.






(2008年4月 ESPACE JAPON/Paris)

[Untitled (torii)]

2008年2月13日 07:49 下道 基行 */?>

One day, after he had graduated from art school, Shitamichi discovered a ruined twostory concrete building in his neighborhood, which had been used as a substation during World War 2, was pocked with bullet holes from machine-gun fire. The strange beauty inherent in the concrete's coldness attracted the artist.

Shitamichi, astonished by his encounter with the reality of the war ruins in such an ordinary setting, started to take photos of scenery of a seemingly forgotten war. First of all, he felt uncomfortable about the situation of creating "Western Painting" in Japanese art schools, so when he encountered the traces of the war, he strongly felt he should work "not in painting, but photography." Since then, he began to take photos of war-ruin buildings.

The first series of his works entitled "Bunkers" contains images of artillery batteries, pillbox structures, the institutions at which the weapons were tested, and bunkers that protected combat planes. For this exhibition organized around the theme of Articul 9, the artist has cosen to exhibit his ongoing project called "Untitled (torii)."

"Untitled (torii)" is a series of photos that capture images of Shinto shrine remains from Japan's former colonies. The Shinto shrines shown in these photos were constructed as a part of Kokka Shinto (Shintoism as the State's official religion) during WW2 in the area controlled by the Great Japanese Empire. Though the building of these Shinto shrines and the policy of forced worship, the Great Japanese Empire promoted Kouminka (Imperial Citizen Forming), which involved mandatory Emperor-worship, the raising of the Japanese national flag Hinomaru, and the compulsion of singing the Japanese national anthem Kimigayo in the Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

As well as being a war device, some of these Shinto shrines had a function in trying to effect a good harvest, which is a character of primitive Shintoism. These shrines built, all over Asia. number approximately 1600.

In Shitamichi's photos, the gates of sacred Shinto shrines call "Torii" are left quietly in grass, desolate land, or jungles, and sometimes the Torii stand before the building of Shinto shrine. At times the Torii themselves have turned into benches.

One thing that is clear is that these Torii in Shitamichi's photographs are mearningless. The Torii made for Kouminka (Imperial Citizen Forming) have been forgotten, without having achieved their original purpose. After the war, these Torii remain, still atanding, but in daily life serve as noting more than meeningless lumps concrete. The scenery of the neighborhood has changed dramatically in the sixty-two years since the war's end, and there is no reality of war in this lump of concrete that has survived. Shitamichi calmly portrays these relics as reality of war, which is connected to us somewhere but is now far from us. The posture of the artist has resulted in quiet, yet strong messages about the forgotten war.

Shinya Watanabe (independent curator)


2007年9月26日 13:36 下道 基行 */?>




2007年9月26日 13:35 下道 基行 */?>



写真展『Bnkers』/「HIDDEN DIMENSION」展内展示

2007年9月26日 13:35 下道 基行 */?>




2007年9月26日 13:35 下道 基行 */?>


INAXギャラリーチーフディレクター 入澤ユカ

掲載書籍 / WEB

2007年9月26日 13:24 下道 基行 */?>

・『読売新聞』Re-Fort PROJECT 5記事

・『ART iT』(18号) 展示記事
・『Tokyo Art Beat』(08年3年)展評(展評者:池端はなさん)(web)
・『これからを面白くしそうな31人に会いに行った。』(08年6月)(著者:近藤 ヒデノリ、米田智彦、サトコ)インタビュー掲載 (amazon)
・『この写真がすごい2008』(08年8月)(著者:大竹昭子)活動紹介 (amazon)

・『デジカメWatch/ Web写真界隈』(07年8月)インタビュー掲載 (記事:内原恭彦)(web)
・『TOKYO SOURCE』インタビュー掲載(07年8月)(web)


・『MENS JOKER』(05年8/10発売)書籍紹介
・『MENS NONNO』(05年9月号)書籍紹介
・『PHat PHOTO』(05年8/20発売)特集記事
・『TOKYO STYLE』(05年11月号)書籍紹介