I am fairly surprised I have not blogged about the Nosey Ballerina before. She has annoyed me many times but you see you can’t bitch about her because she is lovely. Her heart is most definately in the right place. To explain a little, she is one of the numerous Japanese women who said ‘How old are you?…oh my daughter is the same age’ and treated me accordingly. However she also followed this statement with: ‘I am your Japanese mother’, ‘You are a daughter to me’ and treated me accordingly…As I said, her heart is in the right place but she is a little full on for my tastes. Also she will ask me everything in a friendly english manner and translate it for every member of the staffroom…now I find this amusing usually but when she asks ‘Have you a stomache pain?’ and I reply ‘I’m on my period’ do I want it translated for the whole staffroom?
Like I said I am deeply surprised I have not bitched about her on the blog before but…how can I bitch when she is lovely really?
So the main character of todays installation has been introduced. I will get on with discussing the exhibition today. The Art Resistance exhibition opened yesterday in Kofu, yesterday we discussed our works with the other artists in our gallery. I did mine in broken Japanese and broken English (I swear speaking badly in one language is catching to the others in your head!) And I felt like I didn’t make any headway at all. I really felt like I had completely failed to break any sort of cultural boundaries, that my art was rooted in European culture and that I had topped my abilities in miscommunication.
After my explanation they asked me if my exhibition was pro-war?!?! I mean in a pacifist group? I felt like the meetings I’ve been going to where they’ve all been telling me how good my Japanese was getting and where I’ve struggled and struggled to understand had all been a waste of time. I attempted to explain my ideas about the repetition of history and tried to explain how I believe no war can be justified. I then quoted George Bush and said that he had claimed the war against Iraq was a justifiable war…and one of them turned round and asked if I was saying Bush was correct? And why did I think that people dying was justified? I could have cried. I nearly did.
Throughout the whole first two days I’ve been trying to explain less and less about my exhibit, trying to not embarrass my friends who did me the honour of turning up to see the turgid crap that I call art. Of course I’m the gaijin artist so people are very kind. It makes me realise how much I am not capable of communicate in symbols that are easily understood; everyone else in the gallery had such polished work, such understandable work and in my room people stood staring for ages, and I could tell when they emerged that they were still confused.
However, I started this entry with a description of the Nosey Ballerina for a reason. She came to the gallery, you could tell she felt out of place surrounded by post-modernism of the most idealistic sort and she came and pounced on me in the slightly embarrasing way she does at school. Half a shriek and with every eye turning towards her as she meanders through overly complimentary Japanese-English; she didn’t look at any of the works that she walked past. I cringed, I felt as though she was being rude, all the artists were then showing various people particular exhibits. She demanded to see my work, so I led her into my little room and she stood there and turned around and around and stared.
I couldn’t tell from her expression what exactly was going on in her mind. I felt awful, I had suggested she come if she wasn’t too busy yet I know she is busy with her elder daughters wedding, she obviously didn’t like my medium, I know she thinks that contemporary art is confusing. I was trying to think up ways to apologise in my head as she stood there, turning around and drinking in all the different parts of my room. Then she came to where I was standing at the door and she described how she felt in my little room and what she thought of when she looked at the different parts. And I felt like I was the worst kind of shit in the world but oh so happy.
She descibed in her feelings the underlying aim of my past two years of art. She accurately and near perfectly described everything I tried to communicate with that work. Her english was stumbling but they were my ideas she felt, and suddenly the exhibition felt a whole lot better. And I am sorry for every time I have been irritated by her.