Tadashi Kawamata: Nest
Tadashi Kawamata: Nest @ kamel mennour, r. Saint-André des arts, Paris
Wed 13 Dec 2017 to Sat 27 Jan 2018
Tadashi Kawamata: Nest @ kamel mennour, r. Saint-André des arts

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Open: 11am-7pm Tue-Sat

47, rue Saint-André des arts, 75006, Paris, France
Open: 11am-7pm Tue-Sat


Tadashi Kawamata: Nest

Tadashi Kawamata: Nest
to Sat 27 Jan 2018

Kamel Mennour presents ‘Nest’, Tadashi Kawamata’s forth solo exhibition at the gallery.

kamel mennour Paris Tadashi Kawamata 1

kamel mennour Paris Tadashi Kawamata 2

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With ‘Nest’, Tadashi Kawamata nests the gallery kamel mennour. He disorients the site by constructing an immense nest the structure of which incorporates the three exhibition rooms and extends into the courtyard. The nest, made of more than a hundred thousand interlaced wooden chopsticks, is an invitation to reconsider the space as if it was inhabited by a parasitic, precarious, and fragile body. Three other small nests, made of wooden slats or chopsticks, echo the larger one. They have been lodged in the inside and outside of the gallery, including under the window that gives on to the highly frequented rue Saint- André des arts, in Paris, just around the corner from the Place Saint-Michel.

These nests stitch together fluctuations of light and dark, an invitation to dream the space, to reexamine it, to reinvent rather than curl up in it. Kawamata’s nests are not a symbol of withdrawal but rather a reaction to a given situation and place, a possible mutation in the building and the beginning of a new flow. ‘My works are like bumps on the forehead,’ he says. ‘They’re an organism’s reaction, feeding on and disappearing from it as quickly as they appeared.’

‘Nest’, like all Kawamata’s works, is site specific. ‘I don’t make work in order to exhibit,’ he says. ‘The creative process always begins after I’ve seen the exhibition space.’ And the initial sketches will be unfailingly modified by the comments and ideas of the ephemeral community of builders Kawamata engages in the process of each of his creations.

Without a collective, no work. In this sense, he is a good illustration of the ‘relational aesthetic’ theorised by Nicolas Bourriaud: ‘The space where [the] works unfold is entirely that of interaction, the space of opening that all dialogue begins.1’ The heterogeneity of these ephemeral communities contrasts with the homogeneity of the materials. These are always poor (wood, cardboard, etc.), always form a structure, and are always used in proliferation. Four thousand stacked chairs, a torrent of five thousand wooden crates, a hoard of hundreds of easels…

Whether these assemblages come together in a crescendo like the ‘Cathedral of Chairs’, or are resolved in architectural punctuations like the perched cabins, Kawamata is always composing a rhythm, a musicality. This musicality is related to the ‘outsider art’ tonality of the Facteur Cheval or Francesco Toris’ ‘Nuovo Mondo’. It also has parallels with the philosophy of the musician John Cage: ” Using chance gets rid of prejudices, of preconceived ideas of order and organisation”2. The unexpected is Kawamata’s motor. The process predominates over the result. His practice is inspired by favelas, urban camps, and their makeshift inventions. Just as much as this, it is inspired by the special energy of cities.

As a child being raised in the isolated mountains of the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, Kawamata used to dream of the city, its swarms, its dynamism, its wall and bitumen colours. The city became his biotope. It is where he invents an aesthetics of the fragment, of the interstice, of disturbance. A street art sculptor, he more readily identifies as an activist than as an artist. Like in the game Mikado, he loves shifting a single wooden stick and disorganising everything. Nothing is eternal, the river runs like time, change is the essence of life. Tadashi Kawamata’s works accompany the impermanence of the world.

Annabelle Gugnon

1 Nicolas Bourriaud, Esthétique relationnelle, éd. Les Presses du Réel, 2001.
2 John Cage, Pour les oiseaux. Entretiens avec Daniel Charles, 1970, éd. L’Herne, 2014.

Born en 1953 in Hokkaidō, Japan, Tadashi Kawamata lives and works in Tokyo and Paris. His work has been widely shown in major international institutions such as Made in Cloister, Napoli (2017), the Thurgau Art Museum, Switzerland (2014), the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010) and Metz (2016), the Toyosu Dome, in Tokyo (2010-2013), the HKW in Berlin (2009), the Art Tower Mito in Mito (2001), the Serpentine Gallery in London (1997), the Artpace San Antonio (1998), the MACBA in Barcelona (1996); and also during numerous art biennales such as the Venice Biennale (1982), the documenta 8 and IX (1987; 1992), the international Biennale of São Paulo (1987), the Contemporary Art Biennale in Lyon (1993), the Skulptur Projekte Münster (1997), the Sydney Biennale (1998), the Jerusalem Biennale (1999), the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata (2000), the Shanghai Biennale, the Busan Biennale (2002), the Valencia Biennale (2004), the Biennale de Melle (2009) and the Biennale Evento in Bordeaux (2009).

Photo. archives kamel mennour © Tadashi Kawamata. Courtesy the artist and kamel mennour Paris/London

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