Following its temporary closure as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, Shiseido Gallery will relaunch the interrupted “Taste of Reminiscence, Delicacies from Nature: Ayako Suwa” exhibition, updated for the corona era and beyond.
In late February, Suwa moved her creative base to a forested area of Yamanashi, and says that living amid nature brought many new encounters, and new realizations. Reflecting Suwa’s time in the forest, the exhibition will now endeavor to delve even deeper into its theme of relating to and tasting nature, in what promises to be a priceless opportunity to experience this unconventional artist’s “inspiration from nature.”
Please note that as a COVID-19 precaution admission will be restricted to visitors with advance bookings.
The method for viewing the exhibition will also be modified to minimize any direct contact with the exhibits, or staff.
A month or so after the opening of “Taste of Reminiscence, Delicacies from Nature” at Shiseido Gallery, the world was forced to a grinding halt. Told to stay home, shut ourselves away, only breathe the minimum of outside air, we stopped meeting each other, and watched as the numbers grew, along with our sense of dread. On February 29, 2020, leap year day, the Shiseido Gallery closed its doors temporarily.
By March I was in the forest, following the news from 700 meters up in the mountains, not a convenience store or supermarket in sight. Drowned out by the sounds of birds and insects and animals, any hint of pandemic chaos that reached my ears felt very remote. In this forest full of things I could probably eat, as well as being in danger of being eaten myself, I was eager to experiment with my own wild side, dulled by life in Tokyo.
I make talismans using wood thinned from the forest. Gather the phytoncides that fill it. Like a magical energy radiated by trees, phytoncides are antimicrobial defensive agents that trees, being unable to move, emit as vapor to protect themselves from external irritants, and purify the forest. As humans we are privileged to share in this, enjoying the antibacterial, antioxidant, relaxing and immune-boosting benefits of phytoncides. The forest is full of this feral energy, and I would gather that fresh, moist aura, and send sylvan talismans to friends I had been unable to see for a while.
For six months, shut in that underground space in a deserted Ginza,“Taste of Reminiscence, Delicacies from Nature” awaited its tasters, like a delicate morsel in the back of the mind, forgotten, maturing in seclusion. I’d almost forgotten it myself. The world had grown so dramatic, and I was willing to accept that transformation. More than anything, I wanted to evolve as a living thing.
Perhaps we now live in a world where it is no longer possible to share our inner sensations with someone, enter a closed room, eat some strange thing by hand.
In a world where intense contact is proscribed, only our imaginations may fire with intensity. Thanks to the pandemic we now have the power to acquire more imagination than ever before, and taste all kinds of things.
In August, in a Ginza no longer devoid of human life, a forest will flourish behind the stifling humidity of masks. Forests dwelling in minds will spill over with every cough. If ever there was a time to taste the nature long submerged in those minds, it is now.
In our relationship with nature, perhaps humans managed to evolve, undergoing a transformation to fit the natural world.
One day, at my last supper, I hope to enjoy a “Taste of Reminiscence, Delicacies from Nature.”
Conscious, unconscious, my very self:
Tastier the more I taste, with more umami the more I chew.
Beautiful tastes of reminiscence, lie within you.
Shiseido Gallery will hold a solo exhibition by Ayako Suwa titled “Taste of Reminiscence, Delicacies from Nature” from Saturday, January 18 to Sunday, March 22, 2020. Suwa is an internationally renowned food artist who treats “food” as a medium of expression that appeals to our intuitive and unconscious senses, and seeks to bring new questions and discoveries to those who experience her works.
The exhibition will feature an area where visitors can recall their own memories by actually tasting several “delicacies of reminiscence” prepared by Suwa in various flavors. Various utensils to taste such “reminiscence” in natural, organic forms will also be displayed as installations.
During the exhibition, Suwa will irregularly hold participative performances to taste her own memories with guests and share in the senses. Tasting raw “delicacies of reminiscence” offered by Suwa at the venue will create a ritual and dramatic experience that will allow the guests to share their personal memories.
In this modern civilization, sharing with others what we feel through nature has become a rare experience. In this exhibition, visitors will experience communication that gradually opens up as they share their memories with each other through tastes, together with the bodily experience of “inspirations from nature.” This will be an opportunity to share with others the elusive sensations of delicate aesthetic and inner spirituality passed down among the Japanese people, and to ask themselves the question “Who am I?”
Japanese in origin, Shiseido pursues a mission to update the delicate beauty nurtured by Japanese aesthetic and spirituality for the modern era, and make people’s lives better. We hope that the experience of sharing “inspirations from nature” by tasting reminiscence at this exhibition will bring new excitement and enjoyment to everyday life.
Ayako Suwa will hold a talk with neuroscientist Nobuko Nakano.
Participation free (selection through drawing lots if there are many applicants)
Reservations are scheduled to open on the Shiseido Gallery website.
Contact: Shiseido Gallery: Tel: 03-3572-3901; Fax: 03-3572-3951
Scheduled to open near Shiseido Gallery during the exhibition period.
Details including the date, time, and venue will be announced on the Shiseido Gallery Twitter .