Art Review / biennial10

Sachiko Abe at A Foundation

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Photos © Minako Jackson

Sachiko Abe – ‘Cut Papers’ at A Foundation
18 September – 28 November 2010

Biennial-touched-100As we approach the final week of the 2010 Biennial I am often asked what is my favourite exhibition or which would I recommend. I always find it difficult to answer but one thing I would say you certainly should not miss is Sachiko Abe’s ‘Cut Papers’. She has been sitting perched high up in the massive space of the Furnace every day of the Biennial (apart from Mondays when the A Foundation is closed) and she spends all her time cutting paper into very thin strips.

The tall cone of paper is the result of some seven years of paper cutting. The scissors are slightly amplified but the space is otherwise silent so people instinctively fall quiet and stand or sit and watch, think, contemplate. Many find it a spiritual or even religious experience.

When she is not cutting paper, Abe draws very intricate pieces with a black pen which you can see in the room below where she sits. There is also a ‘white room’ with space for just one person at a time, close the door and sit or even lie down and look at the long strands of paper hanging from the ceiling. Also don’t miss the 16mm film of Abe’s paper-cutting by Ben Rivers.

Following is the text from the A Foundation website

Sachiko Abe’s work encompasses, performance, drawing, film and sculptural installations using cut papers accumulated over the last seven years. Her practice explores duration, repetition and constraints. This is a paradox as she first started creating artworks after leaving the Self Defense Forces in Japan because ‘the life of artists seemed so free.’  Her work since 1997 has explored the regimes of subjectivity which are imposed by society, most explicitly in her series of performance works, Elevator Girl Friend in which she acted outside of the conventional behaviour of the demure elevator assistants who were a common sight in big department stores. Abe says of this work,”While the job sounds boring, it was a “dream job” for young girls because it was believed then that only the most beautiful and elegant person could be assigned to be an elevator girl.”

Her more recent works continue to explore disquieting routines that provoke anxiety and touch us in ways we cannot explain. In Cut Papers Abe invites the audience to experience an intimate space in which the constant snipping of scissor blades is the only measure of time passing. At A Foundation Liverpool Abe will perform for the duration of the Biennial but be warned Abe says. “My work is neither beautiful nor meditational.” Rather it is an aesthetic paradox that locates the artist at the center of a field of reciprocal subjectivity, she is an object of the gaze that returns the subject to themselves by activating a feedback loop. Cut Papers is a series of works that create a surplus of meaning within an apparently simple aesthetic economy. It is this scenic space of perception and production that is the focus of the work. Abe will present the performance in an environment of large scale sculptural interventions in the Furnace gallery and a new large scale drawing work produced during her 2010 residency with A Foundation funded by the Pola Foundation. An intricate graphic weave produced by intensive durational periods of drawing which might be best apporoached through the dimension of the fold as expressed by French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze. Like Cut Papers Abe’s drawings invite us to contemplate the intensity of ideas which accumulate and are disseminated in the transformation of a white sheet of paper into medium of communication.

Performance Times
12.00pm – 1.30pm
2.00pm – 3.30pm
4.00pm – 5.30pm

Sachiko Abe has featured in numerous international exhibitions and residency projects presenting; Cut Papers, a body of work first shown publicly at including PS1 in New York in March 2004 following her residency there. Since then she has shown most recently at Knstnernes Haus, Oslo, Norway, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Kyoto Art Centre, Kyoto, and Baltic Gateshead.

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