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Masashi Hattori

- Special Exhibition at Shinmei Building Space -


December 17, 2022 (Sat.) - January 14, 2022 (Sat.)

​Opening hours:13:00 - 19:00

Closed on Sundays, 2022.12.29 Thu. - 2023.1.3 Tue.

December 17 (Sat.) - 28 (Wed.), 2022 → Wall carving

January 4 (Wed.) - 14 (Sat.), 2023 → Printing, Completed Exhibition

YOD Gallery is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Masashi Hattori, “A RI GA TO U◯YOD Gallery◯U TO GA RI A”.


Masashi Hattori has been presenting a variety of sculptures with "people" as a motif, with the theme of pursuing the universality of humanity.


This exhibition will commemorate the closing of YOD Gallery's Shinmei Building space, and will be held in the gallery space itself, which has hosted a variety of exhibitions since its opening in 2008. Using the technique of woodblock prints, Hattori will attempt to transform the entire space by carving an entire wall surface as a woodblock and printing it on Japanese paper to create a work of "Thank you," which has been one of Hattori's themes since the gallery's opening.


The history of the building and the memories of many people are engraved in this space. This exhibition will express "Thank you" for the past 15 years by looking at and touching every corner of the building in anticipation of new discoveries. We hope that you will join us in witnessing the gallery, which is both an exhibition space and a production site, until the final moment when the curtain closes on the history of the building.


We hope you will take this opportunity to visit the exhibition.


Regarding Masashi Hattori's attempts on walls and wood.

(Text: Maaru Hiyama)

 Few things in the art scene are treated as delicately and crudely as walls, and of all the types of walls in the world, the aesthetic of gallery and museum walls changes dramatically between the moment a work is hung and the moment it is removed. The white cube is a mean of making the architectural structure of the wall transparent, but at the same time it is the easiest state to return to its original state. The walls are gradually thickened by filling in holes with putty when exhibiting paintings, or by drawing directly on the wall and then painting them white for the next exhibition. This is only a criterion to ensure the authenticity of the work, and apart from murals, there should be no intrinsic relationship between the beauty of the wall and the beauty of the work. What then, about the Masashi Hattori's attempts?

 He uses the entire wall of the gallery as a woodblock and produces a woodcut of the word 'thank you'.  The venue, YOD Gallery, was determined to be demolished, and as the last exhibitor, he could have done with the venue in any way he wanted. The first half of the month-long exhibition was spent for carving and the second half for printing, and on the last day the prints plunged out of the gallery and displayed in front of the gallery. In other words, this exhibition was not an exhibition of works he usually does, but rather a performative exhibition in which the viewer witnessed his work on the walls in the exhibition space. What we witness there are ever-changing landscapes and sweaty artists facing them. Even though it changes from moment to moment, the exhibition started out with a heterogeneous landscape with the reversed word 'thank you' on the first day of the exhibition as a guideline for the carving. The inside of the fringed letters is carved, so that the landscape is seen through the white-painted wall to the wood ground. Furthermore, as it is painted for printing, the white wall reverses to a black wall. When it comes to the printing process, a piece of Japanese writing paper is pasted on a wall coated with black ink, so that one section of the paper returns white. The repetition of such a kind of surreal landscape brings the work closer to completion, and the exhibition comes to an end.
 He indeed, used printmaking techniques to create and exhibit his work, but there is no difference between an artist who carves huge prints and a sculptor who works on wall reliefs, except that he inverts the motif in advance. This exhibition was dynamic as much as that and far removed from the simplicity that the term 'woodcut' evokes. So why printmaking? In order to answer this question, it has to be unravel the artist Hattori Masashi himself.

 Hattori still teaches art to children in an educational setting, in addition to his work as an artist. Hence, as is evident in his other works, he often uses everyday objects as materials. And the 'realisation' given to the viewer by his work is that it is always possible to manipulate the scale of one's view of things with simple tricks, no matter how modest or large-scale as in this work.

 Having studied sculpture as a student, he chose printmaking as his method of choice, no doubt because printmaking is, of course, what he was familiar with in his schooling. One of the qualities that characterises printmaking is that they can be reproduced. It has also contributed significantly to the media and movements that gather and move the hearts and minds of the masses. That is why we study printmaking in primary education, even if it means overcoming the difficulties of carving inverted figures.

 The letters 'Thank you' are painted as inverted on the wall because the wall becomes a printing block, but it is also an image of the letters stuck straight into the wall, just as cartoon characters sometimes interfere with the characters. Why 'thank you'? Because it is an alias, or rather a signature of Hattori. The magic word 'thank you' can settle a place, put people at ease and make things run smoothly.  Nevertheless, it is a dislocation from the original meaning of the word "rare". They let their own presence lurk in those words, flooding the place with excessive gratitude and reminding themselves of their own gratitude before feeling the original thankfulness in its futile excesses. The thank you then and the thank you we know diverge in meaning. The five hiragana characters as phonetic characters, including their divergent meanings, fit into a single word. The body that engraves it and the body that prints it. Pressing the engraving and the reversed letters are further reversed and put back together to make them correct.

 The gallery where this exhibition is held also has walls made of wood. However, what makes us forget this is that the conceptual aspect of it being a 'white cube' rather than the functional aspect of it being painted white. The scrabbling sound of an engraving knife digging into the wall is probably amplified many times over by the woodblock prints made by children that Hattori hears in the course of his duties. This amplification of the sound source emphasises Hattori's body more and the unnaturalness of the act of carving the wall is somehow subsumed. As a result, it shows one path and settles down, but there are contradictions and conflicts in the process, and twists and turns and choices are folded layer by layer like this white wall. We normally have no choice but to look at the surface, but he attempted to lay it bare.

Masashi Hattori
"Thank you ◯ YOD Gallery ◯ Utogaria"
Digital Archive

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