THE LONELINESS OF THE CONTEMPORARY INDIVIDUAL IN THE WORK OF TETSUYA ISHIDA

Society today lives beset by contradictions. The progress of communications allows us to be permanently connected and share in real time our daily news. At a dizzying pace, contents are created, uploaded to the network, an exchange is generated seeking for virtual contact in a reality that condenses in the palm of our hand thanks to the smartphone. However, this hyperconnection takes place while a paradoxical phenomenon occurs, because the human being feels more isolated, alone and individualistic than ever.

Tetsuya Ishida. "Conveyor belt for people", 1996. Acrylic on board. Private collection, Singapur (via arsmagazine.com)

Loneliness is a consequence of the imperative of the new times. The demands of work, the frenetic production process, the generalisation of the same aspirations in life linked to success and money produce a huge identity vacuum. Although in previous historical periods many social advances came from the hand of collective claims and the generation of a sense of community, today the individual is focused on himself and his own achievements, which leads him to a deep sense of detachment. Because, let's not forget, the human being is social by nature and creates links with others. The creators of social networks knew perfectly these mechanisms that compel us to share the snippets of our lives with others but did not know how to anticipate the other side of the coin, which feeds on false appearances to build a fake everyday life, giving place to a personal alienation that becomes their virtual reality.

Tetsuya Ishida, "Soldier", 1996, acrylic on board, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, photo Takemi Art Photos, courtesy Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Ltd. (via museoreinasofia.es)

La preocupación por estos temas es motivo de reflexión para muchos creadores. El ser humano protagoniza una suerte de abandono de sí mismo, un extrañamiento de su verdadera esencia que resulta desolador. Pero el tiempo, sin piedad, no nos deja pensar en ello. No obstante, algunos artistas se imponen a esta tendencia y se concentran en reflejar lo que ellos mismos viven y observan. Así es el caso del artista japonés Tetsuya Ishida, cuyo trabajo refleja la situación del individuo contemporáneo, en un estado de ánimo afectado por los vaivenes económicos, las crisis financieras y la imposición de las exigencias del mercado. El resultado es una identidad ausente que conduce al aislamiento y a la falta de entendimiento de nuestro lugar en el mundo.

Tetsuya Ishida. “Return trip”, 2003 (via museoreinasofia.es)

El Museo Reina Sofía dedica la exposición titulada “Autorretrato de otro” a Tetsuya Ishida, joven creador que tuvo una corta e intensa trayectoria de apenas diez años de producción. Su obra desarrolla una narrativa propia en la que las personas aparecen encerradas en lugares claustrofóbicos, con una alteración de las escalas para subrayar el efecto de encierro y la angustiosa sensación de no hallar una salida. Los colores grises, ocres y verdosos crean la atmósfera de un ambiente industrial y metálico, donde la gente viste de uniforme y se confunde con la maquinaria. Seres miméticos que pueblan nuestra sociedad y esconden tras su mirada vidriosa la soledad del alma.

 

If visual arts arouse emotions in the viewer, and also gastronomy, at its finest, can cause a similar effect, the relationship between both "disciplines" is more than demonstrated.

Cheese is a fundamental piece in gastronomy, its diversity allows it to be part of gastronomy different moments, from starters to desserts, and that is why Art Madrid includes it in this year’s edition of the Fair from an ambitious place. Cheese is given this way a closest view to the creation of a work of art, both from the point of view of the time spent in its execution process and the almost personalized study dedicated to each piece during its elaboration.

Like a plastic artist, the Cheese Master Affineur executes a series of actions making each piece an exclusive and individualized element. This is what Madrid cheese factory QAVA de Quesos and its Master Afinador José Luis Martín achieve.

QAVA & MARTÍN AFINADOR is a new store concept: a unique space designed to taste, learn, promote and buy cheese in Madrid, in the heart of Retiro district."

José Luis Martín is a key piece in the QAVA cheese factory. He has been working in the cheese world for more than 30 years, providing training throughout the world, visiting cheese shops, consulting and advising on the design and implementation of one of the most emblematic cheese shops in Spain. The fact of knowing the producers personally, and even advising them on the manufacture and design of their products, allows him to select specific batches, at different stages of maturation, to complete the cheese ripening and then convert each piece into a unique product, different and with its own distinct character, the signature of the Cheese Master.

In the profile of the Master Martín Afinador experience and pure knowledge merge. Martín Afinador is an advisor and consultant for artisanal cheese factories and product design, and for the best-specialised stores in the country, director of Gourmetquesos, director and coordinator of the Championship of the Best Cheeses in Spain during nine editions, technical director and jury in national and international cheese competitions and tastings, collaborator of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Academy of Spanish Gastronomy, director and coordinator of the cheese section of the Repsol Guide to the Best Foods in Spain and trainer for hospitality schools and food centres teaching, among other activities.

Cheese ripening is a complex process that requires time and dedication, in addition to a developed use of the senses. The Cheese Master Affineur, as a specialist in the field, works in all cheese stages (varied and complex), controls all stages of raw material transformation, supervises the evolution and development of cheeses according to the characteristics of each one of them, verifies the quality and the state when the cheeses arrive at their cellars, checks their care and conservation, and; finally, he controls its packaging and the type of wrapping suitable for its best preservation.

In Qava de Quesos they have two Cheese Refining Cellars. In these "tuning caves" or refrigerated chambers designed in constant conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation, "we take great care of the cheeses until they reach their optimum point of consumption". The work of refining involves placing the cheeses on wooden shelves, turning them over daily and/or washing them frequently, brushing them periodically, as well as other regular handlings.

Among the services offered by Qava de Quesos, we can find specific courses and workshops, events for groups and companies, and advice on shop design and ripening rooms.