Critics’ Picks

Taiji Matuse, ANF 100465, 2010, still from a color video in HD.

Taiji Matuse, ANF 100465, 2010, still from a color video in HD.


Taiji Matsue

Taro Nasu
6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-Ku Piramide Bldg. 4F
October 3–November 20, 2010

In “Survey of Time,” Taiji Matsue’s latest exhibition, the artist extends his trademark examination of space from photography to video. Four photographic works on view in the gallery’s front room depict conceptualized landscapes similar to those found in the artist’s first color series, “JP-22,” from 2005. Shot from above, these new photos, with their omitted horizons and exaggerated continuity of landmass, appear at once flat and stereoscopic. Nature, contained by Matsue’s lens, becomes visual metaphor, as geology is transformed into pattern. The alpacas, cars, construction trucks, and solitary train that move along and across these pictures enliven the ostensibly still settings. They suggest life where one can only suspect it; their implied travels hint at the movement of air, the rustling of grass.

The two videos in the second gallery illustrate the “survey of time” of the exhibition’s title, emphasizing the temporal dimension. Here, the moving subjects—a red tabby cat in one work and some pedestrians in the other—become the focal points of their compositions, their mobility standing in contrast to photography’s purported stillness.

The exhibition culminates in the third room with a single piece––ANF 100465, 2010, a video depicting a cityscape. The most vivid portion of this work is a view of a cemetery illuminated by the rising sun. The necropolis, perfect in its stillness, seems to resist the time-induced entropy of life, which lies immediately beyond the motorway that separates it from the city in the background. Time is just another coordinate in Matsue’s optical geography, anchored by the three dimensions of space.