Merging Myths and the Everyday - “Fiction for the Real”
"Fiction for the Real" Exhibition
This eerie atmosphere is also present in Chiharu Shiota’s video piece Bathroom, a looped DVD shown on a TV set placed at the far end of a narrow white room. The minimal echoes of this work’s ambient sounds seep into the other gallery spaces, giving you an impression of the work even before seeing it. The first image is of a claustrophobically narrow bathroom with a women sitting in the bath, except that the bath is filled with something black and her face is obscured. As the video progresses various close-up black and white shots show her ‘washing’. The textures of the black material in the bath seem watery, half way between the textures of ink and mud. Sinister like the popular Japanese horror movies of recent years, the drama in this work builds slowly but without any final resolution. Where Yanagi’s females seem collectively bored, this woman’s emotion is understated and in its subtlety conveys a real sense of desperation. Shiota makes space for the imagination to make its own associations and conclusions.
Calle creates written and photographic narratives through her fictional diaries. They retain a suggestion of archetypes – animals, spirits, women are all visible in the the pieces but they ultimately remain stoically undefinable and visceral. Calle’s photo diaries are limited to two dimensions and therefore lack the immediacy of Ikemura’s work but their content still retains the power to seduce the viewer into a false sense of intimacy.
In this exhibition, you find yourself forming a voyeuristic relationship to a fictional narrative, but by presenting us with this tendency through her fictional diaries, Calle highlights the fact that we behave this way more often that we at first realize. We ourselves become the protagonists of an ongoing ‘diary’ and act out our own roles.The text presented at the entrance to this show suggests that the fictions represented “…tell you stories quietly or eloquently, to stimulate your ability to feel the real.” I came away from this exhibition unsure of whether I had felt the ‘real’ through these works or whether they perhaps came closer to showing the fictional nature of reality. The real that we experience is in part the fiction of our own consciousness in which stories, myths, everyday and fantastical elements merge into an indivisible whole. All four artists present us with intriguing worlds into which we can choose to enter and suspend our sense of reality. However as in any fictional world, once you leave there is no guarantee that things in the ‘real’ world will still look the same.