MC is pleased to present My Best Effort, the first US solo exhibition of Japanese artist living in Spain, Kaoru Katayama. A live performance will be scheduled during the opening reception. In her video work, sculpture and performances, Katayama mines the field of cultural identity, exploring the contrasts between Japanese and Spanish cultural patterns. In My Best Effort, three video installations play on explicit cultural and temporal difference, and convey painstaking in the communication process. As a series of choreographed contradictions, they reflect the artist’s experience and observations though consistently quotidian realities.
Technocharro (2004) for example explores the cultural interchange between new technology and folklore. In this video projection, a score of dancers, clad in their charro folkloric garb, attempt to syncopate their traditional Jota dance steps to the techno beats played by a DJ behind them. The result is a surreal experience, warped and anything but effortless, even if at times it comes together in its own idiosyncratic rhythm. Hard Labour (2005), another video projection, offers a forceful shift in the Japanese and Spanish everyday: five Spanish construction workers mimic traditional Japanese calisthenics, an almost ritualistic exercise in Japanese culture involving daily gymnastic performances and traditionally meant to enhance the worker’s health and citizen’s patriotism. The video reveals Katayama’s predilection for performance: it urges the audience to mimic and interact, creating an alternate real-time choreography. In her effort to decontextualize, her work opens new venues for localisms, a reflection on fusion and the charged nature of harmony.
“Sobremesa,” a term which literally means “after table”, alludes to the lazy though potentially agitated period of time following a meal – where the diners take the opportunity to wind up, wind down, or simply to chat and perhaps even doze off. In her video, Sobremesa (2007), Katayama introduces yet another Spanish cultural element: the culturally subversive gypsy couple, in a conservative setting, subtly pounding a rhythm on the cracked plywood of an ordinary table. The minimal score created by the couple’s knocking on the table is subtly interlaced into a fusion of dialogues characteristic of Katayama’s strategies.
Kaoru Katayama was born in 1966 in Himeji, Japan. She has been living and working in Spain for over fifteen years. Past solo exhibitions include So Far, So Close, Galería Casa Triângulo, São Paulo, Brasil; Galería T20, Murcia, Spain; Kaoru Katayama, Dentro del proyecto El puente de la vision, Museo de Bellas Artes de Santander, Santander, Spain. Past Group exhibitions include Alter-arte ’07, Festival de Arte Emergente, Murcia, Spain, Heterotopias, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, Dresden, Alemania, ARCO ’07, Madrid, Spain, Manhattan, The Project, New York. Kaoru Katayama lives and works in Valencia, Spain.