Manuela
Ribadeneira

SO FAR, SO CLOSE . PEDRO MEDINA

The piece Technocharro hás been successfully presented in ARCO, Milan's FIAV and the Off Loop in Barcelona. Such works operates as a question for the spectator, who recognizes all its constituting elements, even though its contextualization arouses a process of deconstruction of topics that poses the endurance or obsolescence of an assumed, unquestioned custom, or the plausible new remarkes taht enable a dialogue between traditional and contemporary culture. This piece belongs to a series of works which Katayama intends to make the relation between Japan and the Western World reverberate – always in a humorous way and asking what identity traits define a nation, from the perspective o four global hybrid, accelerated , multidisciplinary present.

 

Along the lines of those works in which Katayama appeared as Heidi in a world imagined by Wanko-Chan, some pieces like Gimnasio de radio (in which a traditional Japanese exercise was performed in Spanish places), remark the vocation of contrast between the two cultures taht have marked the artist's life (Japan and Salamanca), while they also prefer to use video as a documentation of performances that activate different kinds of processes and meanings.
Such strangeness between traditional dancing and context, which is also present in Dancing in the Space or Charrada, is exploited beyond its Charro-Japanese condition and asks once again about localisms in a global world, in this case nourishing from the artist's experiences in São Paulo and Samba. In this case the protagonist is Tsubasa, a Japanese character who might seem "lost in translation", even though the artist establishes new correspondences with him tahht have nothing to do with the mollifying conciliations, whereas a field of possibilities is opened by virtue of contradiction.

 

An ideal dialogue is opened between Tsubasa and Kátia among Brazilian and Japanese rhythms, in a space of reunion that prepares the ground for a posterior piece: the astonishing Tsubasa's Monologue, in which the protagonist dances samba in front of the bare wall of the gallery, wearind an impeccable white outfit, concetrated in a crescendo of agitation and virtuosity he exhibits until he gets exhausted – because the dance belongs to him and it seizes him intensely like a Sisyphus who is delighted to reinitiate a task that is nothing but a random objective.

 

Besides three pieces belonging to the universe of Salamanca, the show ends with an interesting series of photographs that give the exhibition its name So far, So Close... Unlike earlier series such as A ninguna parte, in which the artist combined drawing and digital photography, domestic and exterior landscape, reality and fantasy, now he recurs to a situation that seems to have emerged from a reflection: "the other Japan" in São Paulo, a place where Japanese emigres preserver their old customs, reconstructing their present as an architectonic replica that the spectator identifies with Japanese modernity, all of which, rather than promoting similarities, establishes the recreation of a familiar atmosphere that reminds Marc Augé's non-places, although in this case the place doesn't lack identity, but they constitute the repetition of local traits. In both cases, the notion of travelling to a new reality that has been caused by the interweaving of identities is a fundamental factor.

 

Aware of living in a world under a continuing metamorphosis, perhaps only diverse geographies, cultures and times will manage to communicate with each other through a global mirror that may subvert the meaning and illuminate new realities that are no less definite, in spite of their fragility.

in Artecontexto, Spain, January 2007