Masahide Otani - Figures du vide

The gallery opened its doors with an exhibition by the Japanese artist Masahide Otani (born in 1982), which sculptural practice deals with notions such as absence, silence and time. 'Figures du vide' gathers about fifteen casts and drawings, which are as many mediations around an image: a photograph taken by the artist in an abandoned village surrounding Fukushima. A visual reflection around disappearance which leads the artist towards themes such as vanity and selfportrait.

It's a big white room. A big white room on a white day. To look at. Look for markers, turn around and look, but cannot see anything. Cannot stand out. Like fog stretched out through fibres, cotton maybe. Traces, of steps or fingers, like stained on a sheet, still white, traces of presence but missing: insisting emptiness, persistent, like the shape of air once the jar is broken. I look but is it me, my invisible fingertips, walk through white, move forward, not even the floor hidden, and the noise around my body disappeared. Like on a plane, when we go through, the cloud crushed by the noise, I am not there anymore, cannot see anymore, nothing, nothing anymore and some pictures, on the white canvas, as through a window, frost the surface of things, and behind the window: cloths, objects, someone used them, without a doubt, not long ago, they are probably still here, I call, a white scream, not a scream no, no soul that lives in the white, that is probably what death is, mine, how to know I need to get closer I look and it is a table maybe or a tray with shivering trestles and a shape on it probably a head mine but as packed my skull I cannot see it, it is waiting but what for exactly mute it is looking from its blocked eyes like on the table saint jêrome is reading a book I cannot decipher a skull anymore a bald head both of them glow but which one is most alive these sentences illegible for eternity, yes, only eternity, but what is left of it and some traces the big fingers of the saint trace words, or the ones of a copyist, on the stained page, carved more than written, a sentence it is the hand that disappears when we read it; it erases itself, like taken back by a big white hand, swallowed, I move forward and there is only the white face of the wall left, its figure, unlimited, no, undifferentiated, or stretched out like a skin. Or hanging down, flayed, saint barthélémy or michel-ange we do not know anymore, it's a self-portrait it seems, a shroud, that's it: painting, an immaculate shroud, we will see my face but as escaped, already on mine, swallowed by the white sheet, one will say whatever one wants. Underneath, steps out, immaculate, she leaves me in the white, I wait and I listen, still this deafening white, like blocked up. Long and deaf, like an engine, a reactor, it is going to explode maybe; turn around and it is the smashed silence, the white through the clouds, that's it, a white noise: the noise of silence, simply, it hurts my ears to hear this, but we must listen, something will be said. A whisper, a revelation, it?s an apocalypse, or after the apocalypse, yes, only this, and the trumpets that keep going, ring out. Vibrate, in the silence, or the echo of nothing. Step aside, being temporary. Like the sound of the bell, of the monastery of gion, resonates mat. Move forward. It is a big white room.


Guillaume Condello