Kyoko Hamaguchi: Never Since
The Border Project Space
Curated by Jamie Martinez
June 10 – July 3rd, 2022
Opening Reception June 10 from 6 – 9 pm
Kyoko Hamaguchi, born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, is a conceptual mixed-media artist living and working in New York City. By utilizing her daily experiences and social systems, she creates transient forms to reflect her ever-shifting perspective as an immigrant. Her practice takes form in many different media including photography, sculpture, and installation.
This time in her work, Hamaguchi utilizes systems of direction to construct an installation exploring navigation in its many forms.
In early Japan, there were twelve compass directions, each represented by an animal of the zodiac (imported from China) including the mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, etc. People consulted sorcerers to help them navigate their lives, believing in superstitions about whom to marry, where to live, and where to take a trip, among others. For example, a sorcerer might say: “You cannot marry someone whose family is located in the rabbit direction this year.”
Now, Hamaguchi creates her own system of navigation by combining the Western directions of North and South represented by the letters “N” and “S” with the phrase “Never…Since…” Each phrase describes how her habits have changed after both big and small events in her life. In something akin to an updated Zodiac, these phrases, each inscribed on a compass hanging in the gallery, offer a new approach to life’s meanderings.
Hamaguchi also floats her compasses in salt water tanks as if they were ships floating aimlessly in the open ocean-oriented only by Earth’s magnetic field. Swimming in the tanks are sea monkeys (brine shrimp), a creature found in saltwater lakes, that descend from those Hamaguchi hatched at the start of the pandemic as a hobby. Just as we long to find our way more than ever in uncertain times, these acrobatic filter feeders always appear to be in search of something, but they are unable to read the signs floating above.
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