SO MINT! Image and Painting Black by Asako Takahashi
Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, München'20
SO MINT! is a series of posts on fresh graduates in fashion, jewellery and design from around the world. Handpicked by Current Obsession.
July 11, 2020
The subject of this work is identity. I think identity has two important aspects. One is individual “personality,” and the other is group “nationality.” I expressed these two aspects as jewelry. First, regarding “personality,” I focused on the element of recording (memories) in my daily life via photography, In various moment, people take many photos to create his or her own personal archive of memory. Photos primarily function as an external memory medium that reminds them of the images and emotion of each moment. In this series, I used some photos of my own archive and impersonalized them by concealing elements identifying individuals. When you remove the elements of identifying individuals from photographs, what does the remaining image say? They become just like an ornament pattern. As a means of impersonalize, I selected techniques and patterns for surfaces according Japanese traditional craft-works, because it leads to another of my identities, “nationality.” In Japan, my country, conventions of aesthetic sensibility derive from crafts. For me, growing up in Japan, this custom has a significant influence. Therefore, it was natural for me to use Japanese decorative patterns when thinking about nationality. This work is an expression of both my personal story and it is a mirror reflecting my environment.
In this work, I attempted to convert the negative meaning of “Painting black” into a positive value with the above perspective.
The title “Painting black” has two meanings. First, as a general meaning, the act of covering something in black paint has a negative aspect that erases the original features. An object that is painted black loses its unique texture and converts into a unified object. This act unifies the initial value of individual. From my perspective, as a Japanese person, on the other hand, this painting black works as a valuable decoration, as represented by lacquer. Using black paint as a craft technique originally played a role in increasing the strength of the material. A Japanese aesthetic sensibility emerged as “the beauty of usage.” However, as time went by, the decorativeness of painting black was more valued than its functions, and the black paint called Urushi had value as a “brand.” Therefore, in this work, I refashioned various ready-made pieces into jewelry and used painting black on them to add new value as a symbol of Japanese “value.” Then, I painted only half of the work in black and drew the gold line on the boundary to emphasize the added value of decorativeness.