※ Open on Wednesday 〜 Saturday,Last Sunday
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From January 21 (Sat), CALM & PUNK GALLERY will hold a solo exhibition by ancco titled “Baby.zip”. This will be the second solo exhibition by ancco at our gallery since her solo show in October 2020. The exhibition will consist of a lard ceramic work of approximately 1 meter in size, which is delicate yet bold in its presence, as well as three and two-dimensional works.
At first, you would think ancco’s work would fall in the category of “kawaii,” because of the cute and colorful characters. In fact, ancco has participated in projects that require a maximum common denominator of “Kawaii,” such as providing character design for the packaging design of “pino,” which is arguably a national ice cream product, although this is a rare case for ancco. However, when observing her career and works in detail, she is of course not an artist that can be labeled on that basis alone, but a mixture of factors such as the Internet culture including “drawing boards” that nurtured ancco in the pre-SNS era, aspects of contemporary society and politics, and her love for worn-out stuffed animals and details. The work is a mixture of these elements.
From her early elementary school days, ancco began posting her drawings on the Internet’s “Oekaki keijiban,”(drawing website) using multiple handles. ancco says “The days when I was creating a persona and presenting my work without revealing my true identity, may not be so different from what I am doing now (or was doing a little while ago).” It was as if I was creating a version of myself through my artwork to cover up my lack of self-confidence and negativity. The “Oekaki keijiban” of the time had a simple Photoshop-like tool, and since elementary school, ancco has already been creating images that can be ⌘Z (undo) and controlled to the nearest millimeter, which is the basis for her monomaniacal obsession with detail. This is the basis of her obsessive attention to detail.
Most of the new works presented in this exhibition are the result of a four-month residency at the Shiga Ceramic Cultural Park, which was also a first for ancco. During her stay at the “Shiga Ceramic Cultural Park,” she was isolated from the sights and sounds, and her thoughts influenced by Tokyo, and her close friends, she was forced to confront the technique and materials of ceramics. This was a frighteningly new experience for Ancco, who had been creating works of art by drawing the images in her mind without any deviation and by controlling the surface of the painting. By shaping the clay with time and love and firing it in the kiln, she learned that it was not under her control like the materials ancco had worked with before. She said, “Ceramic art cancels out ideals, for better or worse. It was difficult for me to accept this at first, because I am obsessive and always bound by the feeling that I have to be this way. It was a continuous process of acceptance. It was very similar to accepting myself,” says ancco.
This change has had a profound effect on her work. Although her original aesthetic remained the same, her motifs became more strongly personal and conflicted, rather than an adapted portrait of the artist. The “Trojan Horse,” a metaphor for deception, also known as the name of the infamous computer virus, was a fear for the young ancco. A “band-aid” is applied to a wound after overcoming difficulties. She describes the pastel but faded colors of the works as if they had been repaired or aged, and the objects that look like children’s playground equipment as “children’s items that I used to use but are now being used in my parent’s home in a different way from their original form, or toys that I used to love but are now covered in the dust in the corner of my room where I used to play with them or storage room. As a child, I found things I liked, that were given to me, got bored with them, then faded, then broke, and scratched. Then as a child, I lost interest but now I wish I could restore them and cherish them now. The figures that stand there have something engraved in them that is an irreplaceable and precious memory or something that forms the person I am today. It represents something that has been left behind somewhere but will always be there as if it has been engraved with the nostalgia that each of us has. He continues, “I am trying to express the nostalgia that each of us has.
Then I began to look at the feelings I had put in the corner of my mind as I myself approached the age that is considered the right age to have children. The “baby (= Baby)” is a symbolic motif that ancco indicates, “I may have created myself with a heavily chained pacifier in my mouth that I run through day after day while accepting my helplessness, as I still have to live each day to the fullest with myself. The exhibition is titled “baby.zip,” where “zip” is an extension indicating a compressed file, and in this exhibition, the emotions that were inside the big baby (= ancco) are displayed in a decompressed form. We hope that all adults who have “babies” in their hearts will enjoy this exhibition.