Magazine article Art Monthly

Suchan Kinoshita

Magazine article Art Monthly

Suchan Kinoshita

Article excerpt

Suchan Kinoshita Ikon Gallery Birmingham November 29 to January 21

'The most important participation you can get takes place in the mind of each member of the audience', asserts Suchan Kinoshita in a recent interview. 'I remember once instigating a situation within an exhibition which took place around a theatre hall. I was asked to use that space, and so invited two audiences at the same time. One was a group of 250 people sitting in the audience, looking at the stage. The other audience comprised a group of individuals being invited onto the stage to look at the "audience".'

In this example of Kinoshita's work there appears to be a pervasive, endemic pedanticism which, by anyone's standards, is an immediate cause for concern. Its ABC approach to illustrating basic theoretical concepts, in this case the notion of reflexivity, is overbearing in its literalism; unfortunately, so many years on, these traits still permeate most of the work in Kinoshita's Ikon show.

inbetweening, 2004, was the busiest of the Ikon installations in its attempts to illustrate--rather than articulate or play with--the holy grail of audience participation. Visitors were encouraged to sit one at a time on a stall in the centre of a revolving round platform, around which were placed several music stands carrying small blackboards and chalk. The visitor was encouraged to scrawl words or phrases on each of the blackboards to be read--or incorporated into the stream of consciousness-style blurtings--of the revolving viewer as they came into their field of vision, thus creating a disrupted interaction of sorts which quickly, for this viewer, turned to despondency at the very basic premise. Similar reactions were provoked by minutes of monologues, 2004, video recordings of people who had been roped in by the artist to play solo versions of the game demanded by inbetweening. This was cheekily presented as a work in its own right rather than the laborious documentation that it actually was.

Most of the other installations fell prey to the same pitfalls: depot des mots, 2005, a sectioned-off part of the gallery crammed with makeshift structures onto which were written words or fragments of nonsensical narratives, tried so very hard to keep your attention by leading you up the garden path that you soon gave up. Similar overfamiliar scenarios with overt endgame overtones were reworked in different guises by the other installations, most bombastically in it must have been thursday afternoon, 2004. …

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