Hana Usui @ Vienna Art Week's group show 'House of Losing Control'
14 – 19 November, 2 – 7 pm
Heistergasse 4-6, 1200 Vienna
Pictures of the installation: click here
Artribune, 16 Nov. 2021: 'Perdita di controllo e nuovi equilibri alla Vienna Art Week', Giorgia Losio
artmagazine, 15 Nov. 2021: 'House of Losing Control: Gemäßigter Exzess', Victor Cos Ortega
Der Standard, 13. Nov. 2021: 'Vienna Art Week: Nichts für Kontrollfreaks', Katharina Rustler
Die Presse, 13. Nov. 2021: 'Kontrolle verlieren ím Autohaus', Sabine B. Vogel
Fukushima – 10 Years later
Due to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, the Japanese population - including numerous farmers and fishermen - had to flee the exclusion zone. The abandoned breeding animals were killed or starved to death. Some of them have run wild. Some of the farmers committed suicide. The local fishermen were no longer allowed to fish or only to a very limited extent. In order to visualize all this misery and at the same time the decadent aesthetics of decay, Hana Usui set up her installation "Fukushima - 10 years later" (Nets, dried animal parts and cereals, mussels, ashes, sand, etc., 2021) in the abandoned washroom of the "House of Losing Control". In the adjoining changing room, she has not erased the traces of the seemingly fleeing escape from the building. The video "Fukushima" by Judith Brandner & Hana Usui runs in an endless loop on an old television (Music ›Zytoyplasma‹, 1985 by Takehito Shimazu; Marcello Farabegoli Projects; With the kind permission of ORF). Despite all attempts to build nuclear power plants risk-free and counteract reactor accidents, it is not possible to bring radioactivity completely under control and moreover, the repository problem is an endless search ...
Walter Seidl about Hana Usui's Fukushima Series
"The works by Japanese artist Hana Usui are dedicated to the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor accident in 2011. The artist, trained in Japanese calligraphy, oscillates between drawing and photography in her work and combines moments of manual practice with a pictorial reality.
In the series “Fukushima”, created in 2019, Usui addresses moments of the invisible brought about by the nuclear disaster and poses the question of how changes in the landscape unfold over the years and affect visual memory. Usui’s black-and-white photographs are overlaid with semi-transparent paper and covered with black lines. This process results from Usui’s drawings, which also contain a photographic element due to her recording of movement and development processes, as if they were photograms or stills. She brings the visual component of the cloudlike ink washes to the photograph by applying the thin layer of paper, whereby the artist tests the validity of the statements made by the photographic dispositive. She employed the same technique in 2018 in her photo series on the death penalty in Japan, titled “Tokyo Koshisho”.
Although condensed into concrete images, in Usui’s photographic views the actual motifs of the depicted surroundings are only recognisable to a small degree. Thereby the artist addresses Japan’s relationship with negatively charged phenomena, which politicians refuse to admit and therefore try to visually ban from the public space. The artistic investigation of such endeavours not infrequently leads to forms of censorship. With her special technique the artist anticipates potential censorship models and while doing so attempts to artistically articulate the essence of Japanese thought."
Hana Usui's short biography
Hana Usui (*1974, Tokyo) studied art history at Waseda University and calligraphy in Tokyo. Her abstract drawings are made with white or black oil paint, which she overlays onto inkwash or photographs. Since 2014 she has been using her artistic vocabulary mainly to address injustices in the environmental, political and social fields.
Exhibitions (selected): Fukushima, Berlin Art Week (2021); Fukushima – 10 years later, Red Carpet Showroom Karlsplatz (2021), Japan Unlimited, frei_raum Q21 / MuseumsQuartier Wien (2019); Show Me Your Wound, Dom Museum Wien (2018–19); Hans Hartung, Informel and Its Impact, The National Museum in Berlin (2010); Sensai, Residenzgalerie Salzburg (2009); Works on Paper, Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Cracow (solo, 2009).
Collections (selected): Albertina, Vienna, Dresden State Art Collections, Graphic Collection of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Kunsthalle Bremen, Museum Kunstpalast / Düsseldorf, Museum für Neue Kunst / Freiburg, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology / Krakow, Otto Mauer Contemporary / Vienna, The National Museums in Berlin, Wien Museum.