Past Exhibitions

Kentaro Yamada and Ronin Cho

09.06.11 – 09.07.11

“Vertical No.2″, Kentaro Yamada (left) & “Weight of the Unseen”, Ronin Cho (right)

La Scatola is delighted to announce “BEHIND THE OBJECT” a Kinetic show with artists Kentaro Yamada and Ronin Cho.

Kentaro Yamada and Ronin Cho are involved in the crafting of technological materials to articulate certain ideas and experiences. Though they deal with different subject matters, both artists are conscious of how the properties of the medium can enhance shared communication and experience of the works. This approach to technology intends to question the ways in which we read artworks in general, how we create division between meanings of art and life. The cultural background of these artists places value in the meaning that can be found in the everyday – perhaps in a series of actions, a ceremony, or a moment. It is when artworks have a relationship with real life that they operate best, involving the viewer in a physical experience with the work of art that utilises all of our senses.

“We cannot escape from meanings. I am learning to be playful with meanings.” Kentaro Yamada.

“Through my work I aim to challenge the audience to interpret an idea by accepting the fact that not everyone thinks as they do.” Ronin Cho

For La Scatola Gallery Yamada will present a large-scale light installation, ‘Everything Comes in Waves’, this is a new work made for the show ‘Behind the Object’. He will also present a series of prints relating to the recent Tsunami crisis in Japan. Some proceeds from these prints will be donated to Red Cross Japan Tsunami Funds. They both deal with the subject of life and death and its relation to the everyday.

The work ‘Weight of Unseen’ is a result of Cho’s investigation into contemporary life, as our dependency on unseen systems becomes more superior. As this broken sense of balance becomes more natural, the artist looks for sincerity in this increasingly accessible world. This is a new work made for the show ‘Behind the Object’

Kentaro Yamada was born in Japan, lives and works in London. Ronin Cho was born in Busan South Corea, lives and works in London. Ronin is exhibiting his works for the first time at La Scatola Gallery.

Thursday 09.06.11
6PM – 9PM

An exhibition curated by Valentina Fois.
Words by Valentina Fois.

Behind the Object: Review by James Brewer

This is heavyweight stuff! An installation weighing 150kg just has to be seen – and lifted, thanks to a chain and pulley arrangement. Few galleries could handle a work like this, but La Scatola, the edgy and expansive place on the fringe of the City, has managed to suspend the work of “steel, motors, micro-processor and chain hoist” from its sturdy ceiling beams. Ronin Cho, born in South Korea, crafted his Weight of Unseen in the metal workshop of Goldsmiths College, where he has been completing his Master of Fine Arts in computational studio arts.

It is built as a huge, steel, seven-segment display unit, and there is a proximity sensor which ensures it remains stationed at a safe distance from the floor. As spectators pull on the linked chain, the display changes, showing 0 and 1 in combination, referring to the binary code 0001 1010, meaning ‘end of file’. So what is this “interactive kinetic sculpture” all about? Ronin told us that it is meant to give space to people, in this online age, to think about what they are doing, to approach something sturdy, physical and tangible. The way the audience interacts with the work requires much more physical power than they usually wield in daily life. They elevate their presence “to a sense-sharpening tool,” says Ronin.

He wants people to question their dependency on unseen systems (as represented by technology, small lightweight gadgets, the internet), which is coming to dominate our lives, through all forms of media. Ronin, who has a graphic design background, now lives and works in London. He says: “As society evolves by increasingly adopting new media into everyday life, art should increasingly reflect this progression to remain relevant. My current work is strongly engaged with traditional craftsmanship but it contains computer-driven kinetic parts.” Fascinated by the physicality of the large work he has created, and its contrast with the digital world, he plans to work on more such kinetic sculptures.

In the same show, curated by Valentina Fois, Japanese-born Kentaro Yamada takes a different approach to technology with his installation, Everything Comes in Waves. A network of light bulbs pulsates in imitation of the abnormal breathing pattern of a person near to death. Each time the breath is suspended, it is unclear whether the cycle will continue, or whether the subject has died. This grim theme is based on Kentaro’s personal experience of caring for someone close to him. Although the person was expiring, there was something about him that remained constant. Implicit in the work is the fear of what the after-life, may hold, if anything. Further dealing with the subject of life and death, Kentaro is also presenting a series of prints based on the tsunami disaster in Japan. What at first impression seems a beautiful picture of the sea, conceals a tragic reality. Part of the proceeds of the sale of the prints will be donated to Red Cross Japan for relief work.

Pictures by Andy Matthews
Behind the Object. A kinetic show with artists Kentaro Yamada and Ronin Cho. La Scatola Gallery, 1 Snowden Street, London EC2. Until July 9, 2011.
Review by James Brewer on Global Newsbox



By Francesca Zedtwitz-Arnim for Portable

Continuing from his last exhibition, London based artist Kentaro Yamada investigates the aesthetics of nature and everyday life and presents a delicate and poetic exhibition. In a previous feature on Portable he spoke about his life-like approach on art and his fascination for natural phenomena such as sunsets. For his recent exhibition Behind the Object, a two person exhibition with Ronin Cho at La Scatola Gallery in London, Yamada presents a large scale light installation.

Light bulbs arranged on the gallery floor and connected to each other by black electrical cables. The bulbs pulsate in intervals, translating a human breathing pattern known as Cheyne-Stokes respiration into a motion of light. This abnormal breathing pattern occurs before one’s death. It is characterised by a period where respiration is temporarily suspended, followed by a cycle of deeper and faster breaths. Each time the breath is suspended, it is uncertain whether the cycle will continue or the subject has died.

Light is used as a symbol for life to reflect on the artist’s personal experience. He took care of a beloved person in the last months before death and witnessed the gradual decay of the body. Despite the decay and change he was observing, he recalls that there was something essential about the person that remained constant. Yamada puts the spotlight on this extreme moment – moment so tragic, yet full of new perception and heightened awareness that it could even be suitable for comedy or satire.

Pictures by Michael Heilgemeir and Andy Matthews