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Empty Gallery; Hong Kong (est. 2015) presents groundbreaking artists in a program spanning multimedia commissions, sculptures, photography, painting, and music.
For Liste 2021, Empty Gallery is pleased to present works by New York-based artist Taro Masushio in his first solo presentation in Europe. Masushio’s conceptual practice positions photography as ontological proposition or speculative machine within a nexus which also includes prose, video, drawing, and sculpture. He investigates the capacity of images, not to document an underlying reality, but to manipulate and endlessly extend our own perception– mobilizing the domains of time, space, and affect as plastic qualities to be sculpted in the pursuit of other possible worlds.
A selection of t ...
In Untitled 4, Masushio renders one of En’ya’s photographs in graphite before re-photographing it against his own studio wall. Concealing any traces of his corporeal hand, Masushio instead emphasizes the countless layers of mediation between the reality once captured by En’ya and the present-day viewer– articulating a distance that can only be bridged by an imaginative leap. By denying the viewer the illusion of unreserved access to either his own interiority or that of En’ya, Masushio enacts an aesthetics of withdrawal– one which, beyond being simply hermetic, implies a humanist sense of discretion ...
Juxtaposing an opened beer and a half-eaten pack of wasabi peas, this still-life evokes associations of En’ya’s life after-hours. Submerged in pitch black, these partially consumed goods bring to mind imagined memories of En’ya’s private life outside his public-facing roles. Harkening back to an era before internet-aided communication, in this work the artist considers how nightlife meeting points such as watering holes and izakayas were a pivotal part of forging kinship and intimacy, especially in places like En’ya’s small town.
Taking as its subject a foodstuff whose daily presence is so ubiquitous as to be effectively invisible, Untitled 25 captures the scintillating liquid surface of a bowl of instant miso soup. Clouds of suspended miso are rendered abstract by Masushio’s lens– their enlarged forms resembling topographical or meteorological phenomena; an umami-laden mirage. As in his other works, Masushio’s combination of Japanese subject-matter and a recognizable formal grammar drawn from the realm of globalized art photography– in this case, the large-scale photographic abstraction– function rather as disingenu ...