Image: Junko Maruyam, Creature, 2021, Installation, variable dimensions, Courtesy the artist
Manonamanamono is how Junko Maruyama calls her sculptures made of homemade soap, a large number of which occupy the interior of a tent constructed of thin fabric coated with soap. The name suggests that the circumscription of her objects is something raw and ephemeral. The process of material extraction and processing takes on a special significance. The oil Maruyama uses to make the soap is sourced from local restaurants. She collected more than 300 litres of cooking oil, reused it and thus removed it from the waste disposal cycle.
The overall installation of tent and soap objects is complemented by soap drawings on a wooden background and an animated film. The quiet murmur of the moving images, the fragility of the thin layer of soap on wooden panels and the arrangement of objects and nylon cloth to form a cave-like shelter give the impression of an interrelated spiritual cosmos. In accordance with the Japanese folk belief Tsukumogami, Maruyama invokes an animistic conception of object relations that assumes an ensoulment of things. With “Alles Lebt” (Everything is alive), an intimate space is created in which the exhibition visitor feels reminded of the value of things that seem so self-evident through the sensitivity and care Maruyama takes in handling the materials. Entering the tent construction evokes associations with the human body, and the objects spread out on the floor there are reminiscent of embryos in form, materiality and colour. The uniqueness inherent in every creature and thing is just as palpable as the transience with which every existence moves towards an end. “Everything is alive” brings this ambivalences of our reality of life into consciousness.
Junko Maruyama (*1976 in Yamanashi, Japan) left Japan to study art with a focus on sculpture at City University New York, Hunter Collage. She had previously completed her studies in International Relations at Ritsumeikan University and had come to the realisation that art as a form of mediation and communication was of strong interest to her. Since 2004, Maruyama has been living and working as a visual artist in Kanagawa (Japan).
Junko Maruyama is a grantee of Bunka-chō – Agency for Cultural Affairs, Goverment of Japan.
14.01. – 06.02.2022
Tue - Sun: 2 - 7pm
2pm - 7pm