Taking new perspectives on things

by Margaux Friocourt February 4, 2019
Taking new perspectives on things

In her latest show “Stone will flow, leaves will sink” at Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Kyoco Taniyama explores the concept of Ubiety*: the sense of being in a particular context, in a particular place and their interrelations.

*The origin of ubiety comes from a Latin word “ubi” (which means ‘where’), meaning the quality or state of being in a certain place. It is similar to the Japanese word shozai, and currently rarely used in Europe.

What do places, people or identities say about each other and how can it be interpreted through time and memories?

Kyoco’s work constantly questions society and politics. It revolves around the composition of ‘a place to be (space)’,‘existence (time / memory)’ through varied multimedia and multi-layered installations.

She tries to explain or understand why politics tend to hide the negative aspects of the society, especially in her country, Japan, where those matters can’t really be raised and told out loud.

The transformation of discarded objects

Her installations, sculptures and multimedia works are exhibited in the first main room of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien until the 10th of February. The show is an experimental tour that gives the public the opportunity to take new perspectives on things. The artist transforms discarded objects that she collected along her walks near the Berlin Wall (such as cans, rusty metal, empty bottles) into abstract gypsum sculptures. All of the objects were documented photographically as well as via video before creating harmoniously shaped artistic metaphors for concealment.

Through the video footage that is shown as a projection together with the sculptures, Taniyama simultaneously reveals origin and process of this concealment.

Every Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 5 pm, the artist offers visitors an incense-smelling experience in the exhibition. “Stone will flow, leaves will sink” is the title of her exhibition as well as being a Japanese idiom. This is a metaphor that marks unusual or contradictory deviations from expected outcomes or conditions.

The term condemns unethical political decisions or unjustifiable aspects of society and is therefore used to criticize or correct imbalances in both the Japanese and international political environment.

Water, reflection, timeline and memories

Born in Japan, Kyoco Taniyama grew up in Borneo before coming back to Tokyo with her family and continuing her scholarship. She’s now based in Berlin as artist in residence in Künstlerhaus Bethanien that welcomes artists from all over the world. Her portfolio showcases incredible works of the past 20 years as well as exhibits that were presented all over Japan (Hakone Museum, Setouchi International Art Festival, Fuchu Art Museum). An impressive art workload which portrays all the definitions of «here and now» for Taniyama and how the impact of surroundings are the constant inspiration for her research.

You can feel that her sense of being is constantly floating on most of her works that often interplay with water, reflection, timelines and memories. There is always something to do with geographic impacts and local identities.

Taniyama signs her works with longitude and latitude and we feel the continuity on her own identity in each of her projects. Places and memories remain as signature.


Kyoco Taniyama’s exhibition “Stone will flow, leaves will sink” at Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien runs until 10th of February.

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