Masahide Otani - Masahide Otani

The work of Masahide Otani is exemplary.  Each object is made of varnished plywood: chairs, tables, an easel, scaffolding.  But his objects are not exactly what they outwardly pretend to be.  The scaffolding is not scaffolding, but rather, an object said-to-be scaffolding, an object formulated-as scaffolding.  And this is how the pieces are in essence examples, paradigms ? because they are formulated sideways.  Reconstitution 2 is nothing other than café tables and chairs.  I Building The Spanish Room is nothing other than a canvas stretcher on an easel.  Yet, all of these things are literally something else.  They are a retake, a remake, a making over again.  Which means that these objects produce a shift, a gap. They acquire, as a result, an exemplary and unspeakable singularity. This is literal and exemplary, because it's a question of repetition, re-formulation: a scaffolding is a scaffolding is a tautology.  But, of course, there is a shift in this making over again.  The object is no longer exactly the same object because we must change our way of seeing, of using it.  Masahide Otani creates each of his pieces around this shift, this gap.  Firstly, in keeping the form of the objects intact while neutralizing their original uses through a change of material: none of the chairs can be used and it is obviously impossible to step on the scaffolding.  Then, by maintaining as a possibility in these objects the idea of their function even as he perturbs it: in The Spanish Room, even though the function of the easel is maintained, it is doubly absorbed because not only is the object unusable, but it also makes reference to an illusion in perspective in which Velàsquez himself could get lost.  Finally, in literally exhibiting this shift and this gap even so far as in the language itself: that which is literal, repeated, in and of itself; and it is no doubt this the deepest sense: a translation in the sense of a gap in usage, in the a-grammatical I Building, which restores to the language, the subject, the form and to that which I see, a new possible use and  makes it be again as much as have it under one's power, to the indifferent truth of the tautology. (Giorgio Agamben, Bartleby o della contingenza).  But in these other uses, a shadow is already taking shape: these empty chairs, this empty canvas stretcher and this scaffolding standing against white walls end up expressing a kind of construction site warning, "Caution: Men at Work."  Are these ruins or is this work in progress?  The works of Masahide Otani are, here again, exemplary.

 Fabien  Vallos