Valencia, Spain

Kaoru Katayama

Galería Tomás March

The media’s use and abuse of the concept of globalization have led some people to believe that cultural barriers between countries have completely disappeared. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the truth. Among the many who have discovered this for themselves is the Japanese artist Kaoru Katayama, who moved to Spain in 1991. The initial culture clash took place in the city of Salamanca, where Katayama had gone to learn Spanish. To the newcomer, however, language was less a tool of exchange and communication than one of many spheres of misunderstanding. Another involved the Spanish penchant for endless physical contact (kisses, hugs, pats on the back), which was hard to become accustomed to for someone from a country where people keep their distance when they greet.

Perhaps this is why Katayama likes to call attention to the instability of national codes and stereotypes. In doing

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