On the solo exhibition “Beautiful Dream” at the Maho Kubota Gallery

In front of fabricated materials


Tada Keisuke is interested in the experience of digital imagery, in particular the bizarre way in which textures and polygons are by no means indivisible in the 3D spaces of video games. In digitally fabricated 3D spaces, what appear to be physical objects are not endowed with content or weight. This is revealed frequently by the phenomenon of “coming out the other side of the polygons” when a player, or camera that captures the object, behaves in a manner not envisaged by the game developer. There an object that at least looked real becomes what appears to be just an image of that object, stuck on a paper-thin flat surface. The experience of digital imagery imparts a sense of the divisibility of texture and polygons, ie, that “what appears to be there is not actually what it seems.” This sensation connects at a fundamental level to the faint feeling of floating, the loss of equilibrium when viewing Tada’s works, where wooden boards one would expect to form the floor, stand up to form walls.

Paintings have this same sense of what appears to be there, not being what it seems. While rendering the genuine article in pencil or pigments as if it were right there, they simultaneously show that this is merely charcoal or paints on paper or canvas.

Tada’s walls lined with wooden planks and tiles, however, do not appear to generate such painterly illusions of making something look like something it is not. Meaning these are not “renderings” of boards or tiles, but first and foremost, physically planks and tiles.

The astounding thing about these works however, is that both wooden boards and tiles, and even screws and chains, are all made from paint.

Yes, you read that correctly. Not metaphorically but literally, physically made from paint. On becoming aware of this, you will probably notice that the grain on the wood is actually repeated, revealing these boards to be molded duplicates.

And you may find yourself laughing at the sheer... audacity? Sheer something of it.  On considering how much paint has been consumed here, and how much time, you come to realize the extraordinary nature of Tada’s endeavor.

In Heaven’s Door, as if to show that the inside is paint, the color of the paint can be seen through marks in the doors.

There, the physical properties of the paint manifest incidentally, as “a different way of breaking due to the lack of grain” through the splitting of the doors with an ax. The paint may be only the material, but the glowing, fluorescent nature of its coloring makes it appear to be just slightly adrift from its presence as a physical entity.

Tada does not appear to hold to any belief in something being paint “as proof of the existence of a painting.” The works simply placed before us are without a doubt “pretend somethings made from paint.” What should we “see” them as? That is up to the viewer.

Review by gnck_

MAHO KUBOTA GALLERYでの個展「Beautiful Dream」について


《Heaven's Door》では、内部が絵の具であることを示すように、扉の傷からは絵の具の色が覗く。そこでは斧で叩き切られることによって図らずも、絵の具の物理的な特性が「木目がないことによる壊れ方の違い」として現れている。絵の具は飽くまでも物質であるのだが、その色味が光があふれるかのような蛍光色であることによって、物理的な存在であることから少しだけ浮遊しているように見える。

​評論家 gnck