For his first show in Japan, Morley decided to produce book paintings based on English translation of modern and contemporary Japanese fictions. This time he chosed 13 fictions. The artist presenting the questions of the translation in literature with his colourful book paintings, does hope viewers to consider about various issues as the difference of culture, difference of personalities, or mutual understanding
"a short history of modern japanese fiction (in translation)"
A Short History of Modern Japanese Fiction
For his first show in Japan, Morley decided to produce book paintings based on English translation of modern and contemporary Japanese fictions. This time he chosed 13 fictions: "The Wild Geese" by Mori Ogai, "Kokoro" by Natsume Soseki, "Rashomon" by Akutagawa Ryunosuke, "Quicksand" by Tanizaki Junichiro, "Shanghai" by Yokomitsu Riichi, "The Snow Country" by Kawabata Yasunari, "Thirst for Love" by Mishima Yukio, "The Woman in the Dunes" by Abe Kobo, "The Silent Cry" by Oe Kenzaburo, "Almost Transparent Blue" by Murakami Ryu, "The Samurai" by Endo Shusaku, "Kitchen" by Yoshimoto Banana and "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" by Murakami Haruki. He read all these books. The colors are typical Japanese color he thought, from a catalogue of wood block prints by Katsushika Hokusai.
Beside Yoshimoto Banana or Murakami Haruki, these days many Japanese fictions are translated into foreign languages immediately after those publications. Morley who has a profound knowledge of literature usually enjoys these translations.
However, always there exists a question, is translation of literature possible at all ? Needless to say, if we only change a word of one race into foreign word of another race, the translation would be imperfect. Every word has its historical meaning peculiar to the race. Translator is required to be familiar with the background of the original work culturally, historically, and socially. And to convey it to readers without loosing the atmosphere coming from the style of the sentences or the writer's thought between the lines. We are, in greater or lesser degrees, always aware of this difficulty of translation of literature.
How about in the case of visual art ? It is believed that we do not need to translate works of visual art and that it could be understood beyond the barrier of language. However, we can easily find it is obviously an illusion when just considering about the necessity of the study iconology for Christian art.
Then how about modern art which based on pure visual language ? How about contemporary art ? How about music, architecture, science or politics ... ?
Currently globalization is propelled and there is a tendency that information seems to be owned in common. We are therefore easily to believe that we have common culture and common recognition.
This is not only a problem between people in the different cultures, but also between the people living in the same cultures. The range and the depth of recognition of any matter by one person would be different from those by another person. Then how mutual understanding with another person would be possible ?
Simon Morley, presenting the questions of the translation in literature with his colourful book paintings, does hope viewers to consider about various issues as the difference of culture, difference of personalities, or mutual understanding.
This installation at taguchi fine art, ltd. is the first occasion of the installation of the works by Simon Morley.
Taguchi Fine Art
Dai 2 Inoue Bldg., 2-17-13, Nihonbashi Kayabacho, Chuo-ku, 103-0025, Tokyo, Japan
open 13:00-19:00 (10:00-13:00 by appointment only)
closed on Sundays, Mondays and National holidays