Artist’s Statement

Ishibutai Tumulus

18 January, 2023

This short text isn’t an indication of success. It’s simply an attempt to put the work into words before the reveal, even if I have to set my alarm in order to get up and write it. But this doesn’t feel like my voice, so don’t believe what you read here. Nevertheless, if you were to think of us as having a number of feelers among our organs for learning about our world, language would be one of them, even if it looks a little weak. I know a bit about the joy of traveling or wandering around freely with words as my walking pole ─ attempting to use words to replace something nonverbal, or to turn words back into something nonverbal. But simply thinking over and over sometimes results in forgetting more and more. Things acquired through words or language seem to make the bottoms of my shoes thicker, but the platforms become thinner again as I forget. And the ground beneath me feels closer as I bend down or more distant as I stand straight ─ bending and straightening, over and over, like a dance by a flightless bird expressing its inability to fly.

This particular journey began in Nara Prefecture somewhere near the Ishibutai Tumulus and the Mausoleum of Emperor Jimmu, or the area that was once known as Horamura. During the journey, I have been learning about places, languages, and histories of this world, and about places, languages, and histories not of this world, then forgetting about them, learning them again (and forgetting them again), moving around nomad-like, over and over, in company with many different fellow-travelers, and dancing with turns, rolls, and twists in many different situations. Tomorrow ─ as a result of the work being seen by others ─ a new stage begins. There is a sealed tomb that marks the start to a repressive story, and art museum cosplay in preparation for lying down in the stone chamber of a burial mound. Perhaps this stands out too much. The forgetting and learning food chain, over and over again ─ manning, hooding, manning, hooding, manning, ... ─ the process becomes a perpetual motion machine until it crashes at about the time the shapes of the cogs can no longer be seen, goes camp (as recreation or as a format for resistance), encourages rewilding (particularly in art museums; a contradiction in terms, considering the art museum is an artificial construct from its very foundations) in a hospital wing for feigned illness, from which come the cries of unknown birds, mixed with wind-borne sand. Beneath the linguistic walking pole, real-life images sandwiched between fictional geological strata are crystallized in a greatly distorted manner. Using the familiar pole to dig and turn them over, try to find words that are unlikely to be tamed.


I’m fed up with the same old jack-in-the-box approaches ─ like making the atmosphere tremble disconcertingly ─ especially since people are being deceived about what’s in the box.
The second alarm is my signal to go back to sleep. I’ll start studying the work for this project when I wake up again.

Izumi Taro