This exhibition is part of the Satellite Programme 2019: The New Sanctuary curated by Laura Herman.
In A False Weight by Daisuke Kosugi, the third and last episode of The New Sanctuary, the architecture of the home reveals itself as a stubborn backdrop and a fixed given. The body relies on the latter in order to structure day-to-day activities, or else it finds itself stifled in domesticity. What if our bodies are out of joint with the architecture that surrounds us? Architectural qualities represent certain ideas and persist over time in ways that our bodies, habits and routines do not.
The exhibition comprises a sculpture and a newly commissioned film. The film is an experimental portrait of Tadashi, a character based on the artist’s father. Tadashi is a retired Japanese architect and bodybuilder who has been diagnosed with an unusual and incurable progressive brain disease affecting his movements and daily routines. The illness affects the body’s movement and balance before eventually inhibiting speech, cognition and mobility behavior, an experience that cannot easily be verbalized, as the lack of language in the film suggests.
The film is set in Tadashi’s domestic environment, which is perfectly organized for optimum performance of daily tasks, yet his habits and routines are slowly disrupted through the gradual loss of control over his own body. Toru Iwashita, a Butoh dancer whose movements are inspired by the freedom found in the body’s limitations, performs the role of Tadashi. Butoh is a form of contemporary Japanese dance that enables an understanding of the depths of the body, freeing it from blockages through specific movements.
If the film critiques the monotonous and universal condition of much of the built environment, the bamboo structure—evading metric relations and keeping the body tentative—may be understood as a propositional work for contemporary architecture. In this exhibition, Daisuke Kosugi engages with the possibilities of the disabled body to emancipate itself from un-adapted architecture and ideals of efficiency, while discussing the fallacy of contemporary representations of the ideal body.
Each year, the Satellite Programme is entrusted to an independent curator, charged with designing and organizing three exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume. For this edition, the Jeu de Paume continues its partnership with the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico.
The exhibitions of the Satellite Programme are accompanied by three publications. Each year independent graphic designers are invited to create the graphic or visual identity of the three catalogues associated with the programme of exhibitions. The graphic design for Satellite 2019 was done by Groupe CCC (Alice Gavin and Valentin Bigel).
Satellite 2019: The New Sanctuary
How does space determine the way we feel? Predicated on a sense of a threatening and hostile environment, one of the basic definitions of architecture is the provision of shelter and comfort for the human body. The common idea of dwelling as “surrogate skin” stems from Gottfried Semper, who described the animal pen, made of woven skins and leaves, as the origin of architectural “private” space.
Today, this understanding of architecture as an enveloping spatiality, the modern desire to provide a place of refuge, no longer holds. Social, technological, demographic and environmental change has increasingly led to the management of the environment, the standardisation of lifestyles, the displacement of people due to conflict, persecution and gentrification, the surveillance of “private” sites of living, and ultimately the negligence of the body and the senses.
Designing spaces of belonging and fostering safe and hospitable environments remain some of the biggest issues in contemporary architecture. If we are to reconsider architecture as the meeting point between different cultural references, practices, rituals, desires and needs, how do we imagine a sanctuary space for today’s world? The New Sanctuary proposes newly commissioned works by Julie Béna, Ben Thorp Brown and Daisuke Kosugi, who from the perspective of their individual practices, consider the capacity of the designed environment to host, care and engage with different bodies and the senses. The three exhibitions in this series bring no simple stories of architecture but underline the complexity of ever-changing ideas about how we (are) live(d).
Curator: Laura Herman
– – – –
Exhibition co-produced by the Jeu de Paume, the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and the Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico.
The Friends of the Jeu de Paume and the Friends of the CAPC contribute to the production of artworks and the publications for the Satellite Programme.
Daisuke Kosugi, “A False Weight”, 2019, HD video. Commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux and Museo Amparo, Puebla. © Daisuke KosugI