A good way for me to start the art season this autumn was to go and have a look at work by the MA Fine Art Postgraduate Students at Chelsea College of Art. Themes and trends leaned toward the installation I saw few painting projects and I found that what was presented constituted the hand made and hand crafted object combined with the use of today’s technology.
I want to mention Natsumi Sakomoto http://natsumisakamoto.com/ and Matthew Higgins work as artist to look out for in the future below.
Natsumi’s playful and thoughtful work encompasses animation , projection and story telling. The sculptural elements arranged in the space entice the visitor to step right into the open book of a dark sensory fairy tale where the good and the bad and the personal and public are in timeless and unending battle.
Based on real events in her life and with reference to Japan’s more obscured history Natsumi recreates and records both personal and public tragedy as it occurs and affects peoples lives over generations.
Prevalent themes in her work are the collecting of meanings in memory and landscapes. She finds and follows the traces that have to be revisited in order to address and clarify the concerns of and burdens on a younger generation when faced with both the moral responsibility to one’s elders and the obligations that await to be fulfilled by generations that follow one’s own.
The elements of Natsumi Sakomoto’s installation and in particular the animation are a clever amalgamation of the traditional and handcrafted bridging with the tools and possibilities of technology. In the animation we see the Grandmother who tries to order and make sense of her own memories in order to pass them on to her grandchild.
The protagonist in the projection is the horse, a symbol for life and prosperity and referencing the fable of the Girl and the Horse in Asian mythology. A memory back to an era when people and horses worked side by side and spinning cloth was woman’s work.
The story relates to a less prosperous time when silkworms were cultivated in many households in Japan’s history in order to earn much needed extra income. Natsumi’s grandmother remembers the audible gnashing of the silkworms in the attic and the processing of the silk thread thereafter on the spinning wheel.
In a previous project, ‘Unforgettable Landscape’ Sakomoto features the memory of the rowan tree in Japan’s highlands. So when Natsumi came to study in England her first project was to research into the significance and symbolism of the rowan tree in the Uk and she found that links and memory, can, and do, not only relate across generations but also across continents. She found many stories and presently created more stories that link to the story of the rowan tree featured in the animation. Research and meticulous attention to detail successfully feed into the touching and well constructed rendition of the animation the projection and the installation.
This is a complex and interesting work.