'Agnosian Fields'

by Jae Lee

Maison Hermes Le Forum

Closes Nov. 23

“Agnosian Fields” — which takes its name from the neurological disorder Agnosia, the inability to recognize objects, shapes, smells, sounds and even people — is the first solo exhibition in Japan of Paris-based architect Didier Fiuza Faustino.

“For me, this is all about architecture,” says Faustino, who explains his fascination with what he perceives as modern civilization’s inability to recognize what is happening to our surroundings. His message to viewers is : “Don’t trust your eyes, don’t trust the architects; take care of yourself.”

Referencing the Black Swan Theory (the unpredictability and impact of unexpected major events), as well as international phenomenon such as global warming and our fast-changing lifestyles, Faustino says society is ready to start looking at architecture from a different perspective. His artworks, which involve video, metal, wood and other materials, attempt to blur the boundaries between what people perceive to be “architecture” or “art.” It’s an experimental approach to convey that architecture should intertwine with art and focus on our relationships with buildings and spaces.

The works are varied and designed to be interactive. “Erase Your Head” consists of individual headphone-equipped helmets, each of which immerses the listener in a different soundscape, such as the buzzing of wasps or static noise. A portable booth of seats, titled “Sympathy for the Devil,” was designed as a meeting space for the Sa~o Paulo Biennial 2006. And “Hand Architecture,” a loudspeaker with a headphone helmet attached to its end, is paired with a manga drawing of Faustino by Oku Hiroya and accompanied by a small note that warns the audience, “Don’t Trust (A),” ([A] meaning “architect”).

Hidden behind an elevator column of the exhibition space is a humble model of a house Faustino designed for a Japanese client to be built on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture next year. This piece, a direct reference to pure architecture, seems contradictory in terms of Faustino’s professed philosophy. But as the artist says himself: “I like playing with paradox.”

Maison Hermes Le Forum is open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (Sun. till 7 p.m.); admission free. For more information, call (03) 3569-3300 or visit