Art

“Anything But”

by Jon Lowther

Special To The Japan Times

The Container
Closes Aug. 29

On preparing to view the new solo show of American artist LG Williams/Estate of LG Williams — whose most recent activities include an attempt to sell the U.S. Venice Biennale Pavilion to help pay off U.S. debt, turning a closed art gallery into an artwork, and curating an art show that solely featured the labels of missing artworks — you could be forgiven for anticipating a likewise unconventional approach to art “creation”.

Confounding these expectations, however, “Anything But,” showing at The Container in Nakameguro, Tokyo, presents a series of abstract wall images drawn in a range of colored duct tape. Overlapping squares and rectangles of red, yellow, blue, green, white, black and amber create layered geometric forms with a surprising sense of depth and play on perspective. While evocative of abstract painting and graphic art, the works, on initial inspection, appear incongruous within the canon of the artist’s aforementioned pieces.

Shai Ohayon, owner and curator of The Container, agreed. “You need to look at a wide range of his practice before you actually start to understand what he’s doing,” he says of the artist who was recently selected for the Internet Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2011.

LG Williams/Estate of LG Williams’ satirical press release, however, proffers the artist’s own unorthodox insight: “Williams starts his most recent tape works in ultramarine, a color that combines the depth and complexities of black with the lightness and transparency of pink, and which imparts the historicizing feel of now-obsolescent blueprint drawings.”

Reflecting on the artist’s oeuvre, what becomes apparent is the American’s unique sense of paradoxical proposition that thrives on a precipice between authenticity and jest. “Anything But,” similarly, challenges and defies art convention by wielding a mythical world where everything and nothing is as it seems.

“(His work) has this ironic and social-political implication that people can immediately connect to on many different levels,” Ohayon says. “(The viewer) doesn’t need to know anything about contemporary art, they can look at it and smile.” (Jon Lowther)

The Container is inside Bross hair salon, 1F Hills Daikanyama, 1-8-30 Kami-Meguro, Meguro-ku. It is open Mon., Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Tue; admission free. For more information, visit www.bross-hair.com.