Satoshi Hashimoto is currently one of Japan’s most ‘alarming’ artists, producing works of art that make the viewer feel like someone witnessing a traffic accident. Hashimoto has created a lot of art through which he involves viewers and questions their role in the experience of art appreciation in the form of performances, actions, and instructions aimed at inducing the viewers’ own reactions. His sometimes unreasonable instructions and his actions that freely transcend any borders pose questions regarding our principles of existence. We usually think, speak, and act as if our actions are entirely the result of our own free will while, in fact, these behaviours are fundamentally influenced by someone or something.
His works take the form of participatory sculptures and installations. However, contrary to much art of the relational vein, which tends toward the creation of shared communal experiences, Hashimoto (b. 1977, Tokyo) explores what he calls fuka, a term pointing to a sense of suspense, risk and pressure, but also accentuated by a sense of weight. One could reference Hashimoto’s interest to Claire Bishop’s term “antagonistic aesthetics,” coined as a critique of Nicolas Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics and foregrounding her argument that human relations are not only harmonious but also inherently conflictual and tense.
Hashimoto’s works act like anti-props, seemingly meaningless actions which only reveal themselves fully when one engages with them. The works demand of the viewer a commitment — to time, to play, to incarceration and surrender. The actions offer a way out of an “art of the everyday” by moving into a decidedly Bataillian territory of content without meaning that refuses to accept the “everyday” as a neutral, un-problematic experience.
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