『KAMMAは、街なかに見る匿名的な ’レディメイド’ なイメージをつかまえながらも、アートそれ自体の解釈学としてそれらを用い、さらに西欧哲学、西欧美術の文脈の外側に拡張させている。その意味で、ラカンがいった「シニフィアン連鎖（記号の揺らぎ、ずれ、戯れ、再解釈の連続身体）」と近似の行為ではあるが、対象化するものが、あくまで匿名的なものであるところが、よりプラトン的で、純粋な表現行為なのだ。そこにあるのは、むしろ西欧美術のロゴス中心主義全体を外在化させ、軽く揶揄しているようなさわやかな心地よさでさえある。彼女が対象化しているのは、美術というゲームの規則そのものだ。内包する世界はとってつもなく大きいといえよう。』
To Catch Art that is formed within Our Brain
Taisuke Morishita (Art Critic; Contemporary Artist)
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) advocated a concept called “aura” in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit). He expressed it as: “when you follow with your eyes…a branch which casts its shadow over you,” to support Art as an object of veneration. I met Keiko Kamma’s “‘Ready-Made’ Phenomena” at the end of the 1980’s, which was, I believe, soon after the Showa era had ended. I felt a strong “aura” just with a glance. There existed the “idea” of contemporary art, or an essence of the Gestalt formation factors. If I were to explain how to look at her works of art, one should know that these works are made by overlapping real street images with images that are projected on the screen within her brain. The artist explains the moment of her creation as follows: “Paris, 1989, I was standing on the street near the Bastille. Suddenly the sight surrounding me changed and I was taking photographs like crazy.” At that point, she probably grabbed the essence of Art of the city, the streets, and of the things that were thrown away there. Since then, Kamma has continued taking photographs of the “‘Ready-Made’ Phenomena” in many cities, including New York, Berlin, London, Rome, Montreal, Seoul and Tokyo.
“Ready-made,” is of course the method created by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968). He discovered the “ready- made” and brought it into the hermeneutics of Art. This is why context exists within the central core of art today. Unlike Duchamp who just used material objects as “ready-made”, the new movement of art that started in the late 50s has came to the stage to take “ready-made” images, such as “Flags” and “Targets” by Jasper Johns (1930- ) of Neo-Dada, as well as citations from the mass-media that can be seen in Warhol (1928-1987) and Nouveau Réalisme, whose subjects were already made by society. It is noteworthy that these come into the scene after the information age arrived, and everything has become virtual cognition. In the 1980s, Simulationists presented the ridiculousness of the history of art by presenting a work that is an imitation of the original work of art and criticizing it, as it is by signing a work that an artist expands his/her territory as the result. In contrast with Pop artists of the past, who cited their themes and subjects from sub-culture, Simulationists used “ready-made” art images in a self-alluding way of appropriation, thus attempting to re-evaluate the history of art. They knew that the unconscious signing of a work or art leads to the silent power structure.
Kamma uses already existing images for her art works, and therefore, at a glance, reminds us of Simulationism; in fact, they are quite different. She grabs anonymous “ready-made” images on the street but uses them as an interpretation of art itself, and expands her works of art (and her actions to create them) outside of the Western philosophy and Western art context. In this sense, it is an action that is approximate to the signifying chain (fluctuation of signs, misalignment, jouissance, and the continuum reinterpretation) of Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), but since the objectivization is anonymous, it is more Plato-like in its pure act of expression. There even exists a refreshing comfort that makes fun of the Logos-centrism of Western art to come out in the open. What Kamma is objectivizing is the rule of a game called Art. We can say that the world her works hold is extremely grand.
It is no doubt that the history of thought after Greece has influenced art, and with this in our mind, it can be said that the Western art scene is the place of repetitive dualism of materialism and spiritualism. In contrast, her sensitivity grasps more of the Eastern “Discourse on the Perfection of Consciousness-only”, which is similar to the state of “store-house consciousness,” meaning that all phenomenon has no entity, only cognition. Originally, things such as cosmic consciousness and Akashic record are supposed to be in the illogical realm; however, there, you cannot “own things” nor “create Art.” Schizophrenia patients today have consciousness like “I am going to Paris but now Paris is under construction.” In Kamma’s creating of art, it is all the streets of the world that are waiting for her to find them, which is completely the opposite interpretation of the voluntary action of creation. On top of this, the artist does nothing. She simply releases the shutter. Thus, her “‘Ready-Made’ Phenomena” art works stand outside of the contemporary art world intellectually. Because of this, in the history of art, which is based on Euro-centrism, they could overturn the ways of thinking, and could become the most important works of art.