Confessions of Love
By MARISSA NEAVE
In their exhibition Confessions of Love, Toronto-based artists Tad Hozumi and Daisuke Takeya take on the Big L just in time for that saccharine holiday we all love to hate (or hate to love). But despite the patina of cynicism that tends to cling to this time of year, Hozumi and Takeya are sincere in their constructions (and deconstructions) of sentimentality and intimacy. Below, the artists discuss the significance of objects and architecture in their work, the nature of sentimentality, and how their thematic approaches in their respective works reverberate against each other.
(The following is selected excerpts.)
Marissa Neave (MN): Viewing your architectural structures in Confessions of Love [perhaps you can supply the title of the works that I refer to?] requires the visitor to have a physical interaction with the work, which can be quite an intimate (and intimidating) experience within the context of art in an art gallery. Can you speak about the significance of this physicality, and what you intend it to stand for?
In “Everybody Loves You 2,” I was influenced by print club photo booths, which are popular in Japan. They are a social phenomenon of youth culture; young people enjoy the shared experience of taking photos together. The photos record a playful and intimate process. I wanted to take this idea of popular entertainment, and appropriate and transform it for inside an art gallery. The structure is a hybrid of a video-making booth and a confessional, which has deeply serious, religious connotations. Viewers are asked to interact with the installation, and be recorded saying the phrase “I love you.” There is an inherent paradox, and a whole range of meaning, embedded in these words. The expression has become cliché through very public associations, such as movies and advertising. By making this sculpture interactive, viewers are actively constructing and deconstructing meaning as they engage with the structure.
MN: What role does sincerity play in this interaction?
My name Daisuke has often been mispronounced as “Dai-su-ki”, which means, “I like you very much.” This is an indirect way of saying “I love you”—it’s a common expression that comes out of shyness. But its implicit meaning is understood. So I wanted to recreate the experience of hearing the words “I love you” over and over, without a context of intent or intimacy. I wondered what alternative meanings would be evoked by this repetition.
MN: What about the formal aspects of your structures? What material qualities do you look for in order to build this kind of space?
During my years as an elementary-school art teacher, part of my work was to develop the curriculum by incorporating new materials for the students to work with. Coloured clay, papier maché, and found objects have all made their way into my own practice. The work of children has inspired me to enrich my repertoire. One particular project I did with the students, using glass mosaics, led to “Kind of Blue” and “Everybody Loves You 2”—both of them feature thousands of mirror cut-outs which would be physically impossible to produce in the original classroom context. Each mirror is made by hand, so each one is unique, a reflection (if you’ll forgive the pun!) of human individuality.
Marissa Neave is currently studying Art History at Concordia University after receiving her BFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at the Ontario College of Art & Design. Her primary interest is in examining how art policy affects art production, but on a wider scale she enjoy examining the relationships between people, space and art.