Ontology of Forms

Mizuki Endo (Independent Curator)

When I view art by SUZUKI Hiraku, I sense how he yearns for the meaningfulness of stripping away all meaning, and the inevitability of removing all that is inevitable, in order to be pure to the fact that his art is a negative of that which is so brutally prescribed by modern society, particularly the information society. At the same time, he brings together materials, as if by coincidence, but makes careful preparations to record the decisive moment of their encounter. And, after all that, when the ‘form’ that finally appears is void of energy, instead of bemoaning that fact, he asserts that it is simply reality as a negative. What I sense is the decisiveness of that audacious judgment.

Simply put, it is like this. Rather than using unclear areas that are the source of meaning that would allow criticism with regard to the unconscious being absurd, confused, and at the edge of reason, by interpreting that itself as reality as a negative, SUZUKI Hiraku turns reality into the surreal as a positive. To be more specific, it is like a dream in which actual events that occurred while you were awake are automatically ‘recorded’ as soon as you fall asleep so that they are not forgotten, and the content recorded in that dream being automatically ‘developed’ like film. Therefore, rather than being a work of art, it comes from further back: a drawing or photo made as a recording. At this point, the things assumed to be extensions of our humanity, such as hands, pens, and white paper, can no longer be used. Because that’s the opposite approach. Suzuki thinks of the non-human subject as being the medium, as a negative, for the purpose of automatically recording reality in dreams.

Perhaps I got ahead of myself. Firstly, let’s focus on the ‘form’ that we can see. Look at the ‘form.’ People think about what it is, but one must admit immediately that it is nothing. (The fastest way to do this might be to check out the artist’s gorgeous book GENGA.) Next, you might attempt to grasp the spatial relationships?inside and outside, or front and back, or measurements of size. Because through those relationships a three-dimensional order is attained. But this approach will probably not go very well, either. Inside and outside, and front and back can be reversed. Even size does not give a fix, because it can expand or contract. Not knowing what else to do, you might borrow the power of genre, introduce an epistemological framework, and try to understand the modality from there. Painting, drawing, photography, collage, sculpture, relief, graffiti, prints, videos, etc., etc. This approach will probably not go very well, either. Using genre-based standards of value judgment would seem to reduce it to the level of no longer having any value at all. But looking at it, you the viewer can tell intuitively that it is not void of value. In the end, you may be tempted to escape to the easy narrative of seeing it as formative art based on some kind of profound thought. But that would be wrong. That’s not the case, either. Because you cannot understand SUZUKI Hiraku’s art while still holding onto your ‘form.’ You must enter a dream.

However, wishing to reach inside a dream while knowing that you won’t be able to is escapist and decadent. SUZUKI Hiraku wouldn’t do something so uncouth. He boldly asserts that the dream is reality, and that this is a record of reality. Struck by the record, you can live as though dead to our surreal world.
Hurray! Everything is positive.

Which is to say that what SUZUKI Hiraku does, trying to make you sit up and take notice, is simply audacious and decisive. It is only its transparent form that is floating in the air.

September 2015
an essay contributed to the solo exhibition “GENZO”


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