Story-telling : Chapter I

‘It is the dialogue between objects and unexpected juxtapositions that create excitement…more and more contemporary art collectors (are) wanting to create a stimulating mix as opposed to living in a stereotype environment which is limited to one period. It is that mix that has become contemporary.’  – Simon de Pury, artnet 2015 (full article here)

Once upon a time, a decade ago in fact, a Melbourne art gallery called Lesley Kehoe Galleries, pioneered the move from historical works of art to contemporary. The gallery’s discerning clients, ‘early adopters’ in this narrative, immediately appreciating the sophistication and excitement of the unexpected juxtapositions presented, picked up the thread of the story and began a new chapter.

In the second half of 2014, LKG explored the individual stories of three Japanese artists living and working in New York. In the stories and the works that are their manifestation, we highlighted cultural differences and estrangement, and the freedom conceived in their limitations. In the first half of 2015, we reverse our focus to identify the interweaving threads of the human tapestry and the universal dialogue it stimulates. Commencing in February, ‘Story-telling: Artists and Artworks in Dialogue’ will see a progressive installation of a variety of works by different artists. Beneath the surface disparity of form, material and individual artistic experience, lies a continuing story of aesthetic expression and communication:

Torrents of flowing words cascade across the surface of Maio Motoko’s four screen installation ‘The Soul of Language’. Wishing to honour and preserve the stories of those that have gone before, the artist uses materials ‘which have nurtured mankind through time immemorial’, in this case hand-scribed and printed diaries, books and archival material that engage with antique fabric in a dramatic and sensual landscape of abstraction. Exploring the spaces of the current installation, you will discover Kako Katsumi’s masterful ceramic vessel encoded with geometric abstractions that recall primitive hieroglyphics – in the artist’s case, Jomon (12000BC-300BC) and Yayoi (300BC-300AD) culture; in ours, perhaps indigenous symbolism. From paper, fabric and flat surfaces to earth, fire and the three-dimensional, these works and their creators invite participation in a grand narrative.

Maio Motoko and Kako Katsumi do not know each other. They create distinctly different works that arise from an understanding and acknowledgement of the common human condition, past, present and future. They share a spirit of creative story-telling, and a desire to contribute to the continuation of the narrative. Exploring deeper, you will discover the evocative female forms of Kidera Yuko and the juxtaposition of contemporary works in Zen Hisao’s traditional Japanese tatami tea room. Further afield, Mitsumoto Takeshi’s ‘Image of Water’ and ‘Shape of Sound’ also recall ancient motifs and themes, yet present these in strikingly contemporary interpretations.

While each artist shares the cultural heritage of Japan, the language of the stories is universal. They invite us into story-telling, ‘a dialectic process of interpretation, which is at times beneath the surface … and at other times much more visible…(relying) substantially on now-standard aesthetic figuration, particularly including the use of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony (often enmeshed in inter-textuality, with copious connections, references, allusions, similarities, parallels, etc. to other literatures…’ .

I suggest that amongst the ‘other literatures’ are our unique life experiences, ideas and memories. This dialectic process of interpretation is our contribution to the story. Objects resonate in individual ways. They are the repositories of our memories and affections, experiences and emotions. In our homes, they create the physical infrastructure for our inner lives. They provide access to beauty and aspire to ground the ephemeral in the everyday. They lift the spirit, stir the soul and remind us of the best of ourselves. We imbue them with our personal energies, which in harmony with that of their creators, ensures that the narrative continues.

Come join our story.

Story-telling : Chapter I
Lesley Kehoe