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.

 

Thirteen years have passed since its beginnings, and in all this time the Video Art Festival PROYECTOR has grown and consolidated its position as an essential event in this discipline. Since its inception, the initiative has tried to give visibility to a discipline that has always been relegated to the background in the usual exhibition circuits. Although video creation is not new, since it emerged by its own in the 60s of last century, the way to get to know it and enjoy it has not always been easy. On many occasions, the exhibitions only included a few isolated pieces within the main route, as if the video was the anecdotal contribution to the whole. However, our daily lives are invaded by moving images, and there is a paradox that video art, despite being a format of artistic expression very much in tune with the habits of today's society, remains a minority discipline

Frame from “Hel City”, by Gregorio Méndez Sáez, 2019

To some extent, PROYECTOR was born to reverse this situation, to value video as a creative format and to offer a wide, itinerant space to host a multitude of proposals, coming from inside and outside our borders. In this time, the growth of the festival has led it to travel the world, but also, to be a benchmark that each year arouses more interest. In the open call to receive proposals, they reach almost half a thousand, and a hundred works selected by the jury are a representative sample of different ways of understanding video creation, with pieces mainly from Europe, Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

In turn, PROYECTOR wants to be more than a video showcase and offers a large program with talks, workshops, masterclasses, meetings with artists, visits and concerts. A complete experience that always has the moving image as a backdrop.

El Instante Francisco Ruiz de Infante. El bosque que se mueve (errores de medida)

In this evolution, another circumstance stands out: video is a creative format that has its own codes, but it is also one of the disciplines most open to artistic hybridization and the widening of uses. The video may, therefore, be the genuine idea of an author who conceives an autonomous project to be carried out in this format, but it can also be the complementary result of an action or the documentary record of a previous performance being recorded to guarantee its survival. The versatility of the moving image and the potential that it has acquired in recent years allows us today to speak of numerous branches of art that focus on the fusion of languages and the integration of techniques and methodologies from other sectors, and in many of them, the video is still a cornerstone. So it is with technological art, interactive sound art, performance recording, the transformation from big data to image, artificial intelligence, and a long etcetera. Precisely for this reason, PROYECTOR offers a panoramic vision of this reality, with an extremely interesting program that plays with the variety and wealth of proposals.

Frame from “Herdança”, by Thiago Rocha Pitta, 2007

The 2020 edition will run from September 9th to 20th. As usual, the program displays in various venues throughout the city of Madrid, each of which will house a small section of the activities. This year the festival will count with the collaboration of the Casa Árabe, White Lab, Cruce, El Instante Fundación, ¡ésta es una PLAZA!, Extensión AVAM (Matadero Madrid), Institut Français de Madrid, Medialab Prado, Quinta del Sordo, Sala Alcalá 31, Sala El Águila, Secuencia de Inútiles and White Lab, in addition to the collaboration of the INELCOM Collection and the video art collection of Teresa Sapey.

The festival is also the ideal place to articulate the cultural fabric, since it involves numerous professionals in the sector, from curators to creators, from centres managers to critics and teachers. The 2020 program also has the collaboration of the FUSO Festival and the Museo Reina Sofía, which are providing some of their pieces for the exhibition.

In short, an appointment that lovers of contemporary art should not miss and that promises many novelties in this 13th edition.