toronto

Alan Belcher

The Japan Foundation

Alan Belcher’s recent show “Private•Language” was a testament to the generative possibilities of hybridity, both cross-cultural and aesthetic. Produced after a residency in Japan last year, much of the work features Belcher’s translations of various writings (the sources of which include Darwin, Napoleon, Diana Vreeland, and the artist himself) into his own highly individuated Japanese calligraphic script. Series such as the “Diary flags”—white twill banners (perhaps meant to recall the Edo flag) bearing Japanese glosses of excerpts from Belcher’s journal—fuse his personal meditations with forms borrowed from Japanese culture; at times a playful arte povera element is thrown into the aesthetic mix, as in “. . . abdominal muscles,” 1998, in which a flag envelops a six-pack of beer. While this isn’t the first time Belcher has made explicitly autobiographical work, he has relinquished the

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