05 Aug 2019
Yuichiro Tamura’s new exhibition, Milky Mountain / 裏返りの山, forges unexpected ties between New Plymouth, Aotearoa New Zealand, Mishima and Japan.
The Japanese artist’s work is marked by his ‘search’ into the histories and contexts of specific sites and places in which his art is presented.
Milky Mountain / 裏返りの山 was created after Tamura’s time as the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s 2018 International Artist in Residence and weaves together unconnected narratives, histories and events from both New Plymouth and Mishima.
These include the biography of Yukio Mishima, who was at various times a novelist, bodybuilder, and samurai warrior; the memory of the filming of the Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai in New Plymouth in 2003; the history and architectural transformation of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery building, a former movie theatre; and New Plymouth’s sister-city relationship with Mishima, the city from which Yukio Mishima took his pen name.
Presented across four galleries of the New Plymouth District Council owned Govett-Brewster, Milky Mountain features videos, archival materials, an architectural dissection, artworks by Billy Apple from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Collection, and original artwork from KAIZO – a graphic comic book produced by Tamura for the exhibition.
Set in New Plymouth, the graphic comic depicts the coexistence of two worlds separated by a mirror-sided façade. The two worlds have the potential to come into confrontation when the protagonist, imbued with special abilities, looks at what is happening behind the mirror. One world intrudes upon another, as fictional characters move from the page and onto the screen in two new videos that play on the memory of the filming of The Last Samurai in New Plymouth, further blurring the lines separating memory from make-believe, and documentary from fiction.
The videos are viewed on a reconstruction of the movie screen of the Regent Theatre, or ‘bug house’ as the Govett-Brewster was known before the 1970 conversion of the picture theatre into an art gallery. The building’s history is also revealed through archival materials and an architectural dissection that exposes a section of the original screen.
An important part of this history, Billy Apple’s permanent alteration of the gallery’s main staircase, Alterations (1980), is also acknowledged through a presentation of Apple’s three posters documenting additions to and refurbishments of the building.
Alterations, apparitions and mirrors speak to the character of memory, elusive and fragmentary. In Tamura’s Milky Mountain, time itself comes to be understood as a network of simultaneously existing possibilities.
Born in Toyama in 1977.
Lives and works in Atami and Kyoto, Japan.
BFA in Photography, Nihon University and PhD in Film and New Media, Tokyo University of the Arts.
Guest researcher for the Institut für Raumexperimente at the Berlin University of the Arts (2013-14).
Upcoming and recent exhibitions include 7th Asian Art Biennial (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, 2019); Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art (The National Art Centre Tokyo, 2019); The Seven Lamps of The Art Museum (Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2019); Where am I? (Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, Toyama, 2019); Roppongi Crossing (Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2019); The Fabric of Felicity (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2019); Hell Scream (Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA, Kyoto, 2018); Busan Biennale 2018: Divided We Stand (Busan Asiad Main Stadium, Republic of Korea); Signature Art Prize 2018 (National Museum of Singapore); Nissan Art Award 2017 (BankART Studio NYK, Kanagawa); Yokohama Triennale 2017: Islands, Constellations & Galapagos (NYK Hikawamaru, Kanagawa); Yuichiro Tamura: Week End (Kurumaya Museum of Art, Oyama City, Tochigi, 2017); 2 or 3 Tigers (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, 2017); BODY/PLAY/POLITICS (Yokohama Museum of Art, Kanagawa, 2016).
Note to editors
Yuichiro Tamura will be in New Plymouth from Thursday 25 July to Sunday 11 August.
About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.
The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.
The Govett-Brewster/Len Lye Centre is owned and operated by the New Plymouth District Council, which governs the museum under the terms of the founding Monica Brewster Trust Deed.