Your Hand in Mine
TETSUYA NODA (DIARY) Selected Works
Steven Co Collection
I really can’t remember when and where, and under what circumstances, collector Steven Co shared with me the works of printmaker Tetsuya Noda. Among Noda’s works, the one that touches me the most is Diary: July 19th ’69 – a portrait of a young woman, whose body seems to be very restrained. Her hands press hard on her legs, and with a blooming rose in her hands. The body language of the girl in her timid and young age suggests that she is a bit uneasy. And yet, when I looked at her closely, I found her face looking up and that there are hopes and aspiration in her eyes; and also her mouth curving up, with a hint of a fleeting smile… The composition and color of this work is extremely simple, but there are so many details for us to ask for answers and full of poetic contradictories.
This work records what actually happened before Dorit Bartur married Noda, Dorit followed her parents’ advice (her father was the Israeli ambassador to Japan at the time) to go back to Jerusalem and get a job… I learnt of the story only after I had seen Noda’s work, and that’s why I admire Noda immensely. Noda, with his innate sensitivity combined with his exquisite technique, managed to capture these subtle, fleeting changes in life, memorializing that very moment when his lover was facing one of the biggest decisions she has to make in her life, resulting to a work that not only shows complex emotions but also has become a testimony of their love.
Of course, such a dramatic plot is only a part of the stories of their life together… In contrast though, it is the mindful portrayal of seemingly unremarkable daily details that explains why Noda's works do connect with people. Since the end of the 1960s, Noda began creating a series of prints that is entitled "Diary", featuring his family members, sceneries seen from his trips, and his daily encounters with the people, matters and things in his life. The artist uses his camera as a sketchbook, combining coloured woodblocks with silk-screened photographs. He would first print partial colours and fine shadows of white backgrounds using woodblocks on hand-made papers, and then he would use silk-screen to imprint images and shades to make the subject more prominent and intense.
Noda's Diary series reminds me of an adapted quote from Qing dynasty poet ZhaWeiren: what used to be the zither, chess, wine and flowers in calligraphy and painting; is now the rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea. It is extraordinary that ordinary things in life, under the unique interpretation of Noda, can possess such intelligence and timelessness, making thing strange yet intimate. His works allow us to walk through his life and make us feel as if we were part of him or his family. We can silently experience his joys and sorrows, and quietly walk along with him through his life journey. It is his ability to negotiate with that close and distant home in his heart that allows us to understand the meaning of life in the ordinary.
Throughout the course of his 50 years of creation, it is said that Noda has created more than 500 works. Thanks to the care and generosity of Mr. Steven Co, some of Noda’s signature works could be brought to Macao for exhibition. Diary: Dec. 5th, ‘17 – the finale piece of this exhibition – shows Mrs. Noda taking a morning walk on a softly-lit road, lively footsteps toward the sun, reminding us that she is still that same girl that Noda first met and grew to love, that same girl that has always brought him life and light.
In an era where people are prone to impulsiveness and uproar, the perception of love - your hand in mine - has been distorted as an impetuous mishap of falling in love. Even worse, the promise of growing old together – till the end of time - might have become just an abstract concept. Thanks to Noda's Diary series, I was able to witness the long journey they have walked together, side by side, step by step from - your hand in mine - till the end of time. The power of commitment does travel time.
Curator Joey Ho Chong I
歸根結底，我們記住的或是如何去記住的事，都是發生過的事實，因此，這也是我們的生活。在當今的社交網絡世界中，於 Facebook、Instagram 或 Snapchat 上分享我們的“生活”（晚餐的照片，收到的禮物，炫耀的新髮型）是很常見的。所有帖子都是源自我們希望別人知道的內容，我們希望別人如何看待我們，以及我們想如何記住自己而精心選擇的。 所有照片都經過精心裁切和過濾，有時甚至會為了配合我們的想法而作出改動。
然而，野田哲也（Tetsuya Noda）在過去50年中就已經一直在做著同樣的事情，創作了500多幅的作品。 其他人可能會在自己的帖子中做出陳述，他的是一種體現。 當其他人看到的是一件實物，他卻能以正念、風趣、神秘和魅力察覺並捕捉了一些瞬間。 他的概念 ，我稱之為視覺自傳，是首先吸引我注意到他的作品的主要原因。 他的作品能夠喚醒深藏在觀眾內心深處的記憶，每件作品都是更大的作品的一部分，日記系列實際上亦是一個不斷在進行中的作品。
版畫並不是野田的最終目標。 他的日記系列中的版畫製作，是其視覺自傳整體概念中不可或缺的程序。 野田哲也利用相機的客觀性來“記住”事物，再用自己鉛筆和刷子的主觀性來重新調整出最終的照片，印刷出一個記憶。恰似要確保在他腦海刻出記憶一般，他會親手拉動每幅畫作，反覆地回到該段記憶之中。 無論是他在某個特定年份創作的作品數量、作品的大小，還是版本的大小，都有助於理解和欣賞他的“表達”。通過這種大量勞力的過程，呈現的是成果與功效是獲得重新審視、重新評估並反覆確認的記憶。這種結果是聚集過程與目的、概念與內容、以及形式與功能的統一。
2016年，我收藏的野田哲也作品集首次在菲律賓的 Ayala Museum（阿亞拉博物館）展出。從那時起，我開始收集更多的作品，甚至發現了兩件非常稀有的、沒有出現在野田哲也最新目錄中的作品（這兩件作品都在本次展覽中展出）。 我們在收集的150多件作品中選取了35件，以符合三個主題：首先必須是野田最個人化的作品； 然後是能提供關於他的生活和工作訊息的視覺地圖； 最後，是從未被展示過的作品。
在收集和賞析野田作品的過程中，他的妻子 Dorit（多麗特）成為了一個非常親密並支援我的朋友。 我和多麗特的交流幾乎和與媽媽交流的頻率一樣！ 她總是願意告訴我一件作品當中“實際上”發生了什麼，但是也會很快地提醒我，哲也可能會以不同的方式來記憶這些事情。 正如多麗特所說：“儘管哲也不會輕易地用語言來表達關於他為何選擇某個特定主題，但他會很樂意為你解釋過程！”，這是我可以理解的。 作為視覺藝術家，他的作品就是哲也的表達方式； 作為教授，他敏銳而清晰地解釋事情的完成方式。 我記得曾經收到一份帶有照片的詳細說明，解說如平展印刷，內容優秀得足以出版一本書！
意大利樂隊 Zooming in Togliattigrad 的成員青少年時期就在大英博物館裡觀看了他的回顧展。 在那樣的經歷後，他們發表了名為 Tetsuya Noda 的樂曲。當我請求將其用於2016年的野田個展時，他們隨後提出了要創建名為《野田哲也的日記》的一小時原聲帶，我們非常高興能夠得到他們的許可，在本次展覽中使用這段配樂。顯然地，我並不是唯一一個為野田哲也的作品而瘋狂的人。
THE NODAS AND I
At the end of the day, what we remember and how we remember things that happened to us is our reality, and therefore our life. In today’s world of social networking, it is very common for us to share our “life” - a picture of our dinner, a gift we received, the new hairstyle we sport ‡ on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. All posts are carefully chosen based on what we want others to know, how we want others to perceive us, and how we want to remember ourselves. All photos are carefully cropped, filtered and sometimes altered to fit the narrative we have in our mind.
Tetsuya Noda, however, has been doing the same thing for the last 50 years with more than 500 works. While others may be making statements in their posts, his are reflections. While others may just saw, he noticed and captured moments with mindfulness, wit, mystery and charm. His concept of what I call visual autobiography is the primary reason why I was attracted to his works in the first place. His creations have the ability to summon a memory lurking deep within the viewer’s mind and heart. Every work is part of a much bigger work, the Diary series, of which is actually a work-in-progress.
Printmaking is not a means to an end for Noda. Printmaking in his Diary series is an integral process to his overall concept of visual autobiography. Noda endeavours to “remember” with the objectivity of his camera, but then re-visions the resulting photograph with the subjectivity of his pencils and brushes before committing the memory to a print. As if to ensure that a memory is engraved into his mind, he would repeatedly retreat to that memory by personally pulling each print by hand. Whether it is the number of works he created in a particular year, the size of the work or the size of the edition, all contribute to the understanding and appreciation of his “expression”. The result and effect are memories revisited, reassessed, and repeatedly asserted through this labour-intensive process. The results are a unity of process and purpose, concept and content, and form and function.
It was in 2016 that my collection of the works of Tetsuya Noda was first exhibited in the Ayala Museum, Philippines. Since then, I have collected more pieces and even found two works (both of which are exhibited in this show) that were rare enough to not even make it to Noda’s latest catalogue raisonné. We have chosen 35 works out of more than 150 in the collection with three questions in mind ‡ first and foremost was which are the most personal works of Noda; then which will provide a visual map of his life and work; and finally, which has not been shown previously.
In the process of collecting and understanding Noda’s work, his wife, Dorit, has become a great resource person and a very dear friend. Dorit and I communicated almost as often as I communicate with my mom! She is always ready to tell me what “actually” happened in a work, but always quick to remind me that Tetsuya might remember things differently. As Dorit mentioned, “although Tetsuya will not easily express his feelings in words regarding why he chose a particular subject, he will gladly explain about the process!” This I understand. As a visual artist, his works are Tetsuya’s way of expressing; and as a professor, he is keen and clear in explaining how things are done. I remember receiving a detailed account with photos on how to flatten a print that is good enough to be published in a book!
Members of the Italian band Zooming in Togliattigrad were in their teens when they saw his retrospective show at The British Museum. After that experience, they published a composition entitled Tetsuya Noda. When I asked permission to use it for the 2016 exhibition, they then offered instead to create a one-hour original soundtrack entitled The Diary of Tetsuya Noda. We have the pleasure of receiving their permission to use the soundtrack for this exhibition. Clearly, I am not the only one crazy for Noda’s works.
Noda’s works unify Japanese cultural tradition with international modern aesthetics. Because he has never been part of any artistic or political movement, his works are unique. Even more so, his works are singular because they tap into the very core of individuality that is oneself; that very self-awareness is the universality to which all people can relate. His work is not about making his life public but rather about inviting us into his realm. His works enhance what was there yesterday so that it is relevant today and tomorrow.
Collector Steven Co
Born in 1940 (79 years old now), Tetsuya Noda made a successful debut in 1967 with his work “Picture Diary” by receiving the New Artist’s Prize from the Japan Print Association. In 1968, he received the prestigious International Grand Prize at the Tokyo International Print Biennial. His works have since been exhibited in world-renowned art museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum in Beijing, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the University Museum of Tokyo University of the Arts, the National Museum of Art in Osaka and the British Museum. Also, Tetsuya has won numerous international awards from the Ljubljana International Print Biennial and the Norwegian International Print Biennial. In 2015, Tetsuya was awarded The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by the Emperor of Japan in 2015. ‘Our lives are what matters the most and we look at art through everyday life,’ says Tetsuya.‘Our lives are what matters the most and we look at art through everyday life,’ says Tetsuya.
開幕 Opening : 9/11 4pm
展期 Extension period：10/11 – 7/12/2019
Opening Hours : noon - 7:00pm (except on Wednesday)
At Light – Pátio do Padre Narciso nº 1, R/C, Macau
免費入場 Free Admission
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主辦 Organizer：弘藝峰創作社 Arts Empowering Lab
贊助 sponsor：文化局 Instituto Cultural
場地贊助 Venue sponsor：At Light
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