Past Exhibition

Masaru Iwai | Perspective of Familiarity

9 September - 14 October, 2017

Venue : Takuro Someya Contemporary Art

  • Masaru Iwai, “Motorcycle washing,” 2016, 13m 15s, 4k video and sound,


Takuro Someya Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the opening of Masaru Iwai’s solo exhibition “Perspective of Familiarity” held September 9 to October 14.


Up to this point, Masaru has developed his video works, installations, as well as performances with “cleansing” and “purification” at the core of his research. While based in Tokyo, Iwai travels all over the world where he places himself within obscure communities, a unique work style he has maintained in depicting the significance of a shared lifestyles and values.


The video work “Motorcycle washing” to be presented in this exhibition was created in Ratchatburi province, Thailand in 2016, through the Art Initiative program where Iwai participated in a workshop with Burmese immigrant workers. Due to the stringent labor market during the rapid economic growth of the 1980s, Thailand accepted many immigrant workers from neighboring Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. However, the flow of immigrants into the country was not only those of legal rights, the number of illegal immigrants increased simultaneously. In Ratchatburi, the large population of Burmese illegal workers rides motorcycles despite the fact that driver’s licenses are not issued to them. Through his involvement with such workers, Iwai examines that the “illegal” acts inherent in a community in fact creates deeper intimacy. This time, he gathers the immigrant workers at Wat Nong Pho Temple and instructs them to wash their motorcycles, the motorcycles that symbolize the layers of illegality in the community. While chatting in Burmese, they continue the process of washing and the instructions given in Thai by the art initiative person in charge gradually becomes audible. Despite this program taking place clearly for the purpose of the workshop, in time it becomes apparent that the interactions seen here resembles that of the factories in which they normally work at.


On the other hand, the second work to be presented in this exhibition is “The White Building Washing” created in Phnom Penh in 2012 set in the “White Building”. The “White Building” was originally a modern residential housing built for middle-class families, however the civil war forced them out of their homes and when the war finally ended, the building had became a place where people without homes gather, and so gradually turning into a slum. Just like the Burmese workers in Thailand, the people who continue to live in this building despite receiving deposition from the government are the people that form a community by their illegal acts. Iwai propelled the cleaning project in this building for 2 months from 2011 to 2012, while living there with the residents. He video recorded the scenes where cleaning is propagated by one person sweeping the garbage, followed by another resident brushing the floor and so on, gradually escalating the process. The land of the white building have however been purchased by a Japanese company recently where they will construct a new building so the white building is currently undergoing the process of abolition.


In this exhibition, “The White Building Washing” will be exhibited as a new installation; this will be an opportunity to reexamine the local environment that underwent dramatical change from the time of the production.


In both works, Iwai enters the various lives of people and through the “participatory method” he takes a look at each individual community through the various perspectives such as legal systems, cultures, and family relations.


Masaru Iwai was bon in Kyoto in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts in 2009. His recent major exhibitions and notable works include “Maintenance Required”, The Kitchen, New York 2013, “NEEDLESS CLEANU”, Meet Factory, Prague 2013, ”ROPPONGI ART NIGHT″, Tokyo 2013. Solo Exhibitions, “Prisoner of habit”, Akita art university of Art, Biyong point 2015, “Passed places, passed things”, Takuro Someya Contemporary Art, Tokyo 2015, “Mutation at the dead end”, 3331 Gallery, Tokyo, and in 2016 Iwai Participated in “x / groove space” (dance performance presented in a total of 4 cities in Japan and Germany (Directed by Sebastian Matthias) as a collaboration artist.



Masaru Iwai | Perspective of Familiarity

Exhibition period: 2017.9.9 (sat) – 10.14 (sat)

Tuesday – Saturday 12:00 – 19:00 (Closed on Sundays, Mondays and National Holidays)

Closing party: 10.14 (sat) 18:00 – 20:00


*Please note that we will hold a closing party on the last day of the exhibition instead of an opening reception on the first day.

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