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"Participated Art Omi International Artist Residency Program"

Inteviewed by Someone's Garden

A book of "Artists in Residencies Around the World", 2009

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ART OMI?

I took up the challenge and applied for the Art Omi Residency, as it was a prestigious and highly sought after art residency in the United States. Several guests such as gallerists, independent or art museums’ curators from different places like New York were invited every week during the 3-week stay. It was indeed an intense program full of activities such as presentations for those guests, art production for the opening studio event, parties with food and drinks at night (laughs), mingling with artists from different countries, etc.

A SPECIFICITY OF THE LOCAL CREATIVE SCENE

I had the impression that participating artists had already established their own styles, and they came to appeal their art based on their reputation in contrast with other residents. I have to mention, however, the gap in ability was apparent between the participating artists who had been in the designated quota for their countries and the artists who had applied on their own and overcame the highly competitive selection process. I thought that the artists from Western Europe and North America put ideas into practice effortlessly, and their presentations were phenomenal. Their presentation abilities were improved by their better language skills, but they also seemed to be better at moving things forward as opposed to just looking back at art from the past. I felt that the artists with real artistic ability would also become popular very quickly.

YOUR PROJECT AT ART OMI

As I wanted to try new things with the resources available in the new environment, I searched around my place with the idea of an outdoor installation in mind. I discovered a tree stump which had been chopped down a few days before and set about producing a piece of art that connected my own age with the annual rings found on the stump. I correlated this artwork with the installations based on cutting works in the studio.

WHAT DRIVES YOU, NORIKO AMBE?

I feel like I am aiming for the truth, or the reality of occurrence, through my work. I develop and use the method of expression gained through cutting and piling up pieces with a cutter, following a theme of connection between the nature and humans, from micro to macro, from the past, present, and to the future. I’d like to fully understand the direction for how I can best express it in my art, or how the art itself likes to grow when I encounter each material. I’ll try my best to make it work.

WHY AIR MATTERS

One thing the residency experience helps me with is to catch a glimpse of the process of ideas, life, and the production of artists in the same generation from different countries. We sometimes obtain ideas from interacting with each other or through daily conversation. The connection between artists from the same generation is truly an asset, especially in this age of the Internet where physical distances can be disregarded. You might feel an inferiority complex which is caused by differing language abilities. You might also focus on self-consciousness too much, believing that your mindset is deeply rooted in Japanese, a very unique language, and you cannot escape from it, although you still compete with others in the quality of work and performance. I guess that it is inevitable that you will maintain your Japanese identity.

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