Ota Fine Arts is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Takao Minami, his debut
in Singapore. The exhibition will feature the artist’s new work, including both double
and single-channel video installations, as well as a sculptural installation
incorporating the light of a flame and shadow.
From site-specific installation to video, Minami’s work always explores the fundamental
elements involved in audio-visual technologies, namely light, colour and sound. This self-reflexivity about the mechanics of video production is rendered with tight attention to
composition, the tensions between abstraction and figuration, and the manifold qualities of
Projected light is conceived as something so basic — even primitive — as the raw light of a flame thrown onto a wall by a magnifying glass. In "Fire Symbol", the words for ‘Fire’ in
ancient writing systems such as Egyptian hieroglyphs, or the Dongba pictograms of the
Nakhi people in southern China, are engraved onto the surface of the glass. Although the
wick of the candle produces a deceptively simple projective installation, through it Minami
illustrates the dual nature of light in our media-saturated world: light as symbol and light as
And phenomena is abstracted, and refracted in ever-varying ways, both by the flickering
light of the flame and the flashes of core video light in "kishi no eizo", "Quiet Hole" and
"Difference Between". For Minami, colour is derived from the ‘8-Bit Era’ of retro video games,
and these early television and video colour bars inform his choice of palette. His single channel
works kishi no eizo and Quiet Hole are assemblages of neon light, reducing spliced
landscapes, stencilled silhouettes of foliage, miniature humans, and other indiscernible
shapes to vivid, essential hues. "Difference Between" is even further pared down to a highly
saturated dichromatic schema so that the moving image is balanced between parallel
elements — blue water and a bright white sky. The effect additionally fragments hitherto
recognisable elements of Minami’s landscapes: waves upon a shore, a palm tree and a
traditional Malay house are reduced to their bare outlines.
These digital collages, arranged through a “process… closer to composition in painting than
film editing" (1), can also be viewed as inheriting their longitudinal format from traditional
Japanese and Chinese hanging scroll paintings of mountainous landscapes and waterfalls.
In fact, the slow, seamless downward pan encourages a more contemplative eye than the
speed associated with most new media. It almost reminds one to dwell upon the
immaterial, abstract space between ‘heaven’ and ‘earth’. But whatever this nether, virtual
space truly is within our contemporary digital reality — between the bars of a television
monitor or the pixels of a high-definition video projection — still remains a question
Nevertheless, Takao Minami’s work is ultimately grounded in the real. His footage is
extracted and edited from videologues of his recent journeys between Bangkok and
Singapore. Further, while on the road, Minami’s heightened attentiveness brings his
audience through the everyday soundscapes of Southeast Asia.
This season, we invite viewers to discover the unique and sensitive video compositions,
projections and reflections Takao Minami has created for his solo presentation at Ota Fine
"1Takao Minami", edited by Thomas Boutoux, Nicolas Garait, Danielle Kvaran, Gunnar B. Kvaran, Kit Maude, Thierry Raspail (Dijon: Les presses du réel), catalogue of an exhibition at La Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, 12 September, 2013 through 5 January, 2014, 342-345.