Interview: Ryoji Morimoto
Luca Curci talks with Ryoji Morimoto during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Ryoji Morimoto is a mixed media artist, who is observant of the world around him and translates what he sees in his work, with his own unique interpretation. He often gets inspiration from simple elements of daily life, such as, the natural world and combines his interpretations of these with more complex social, historical or local issues. He conducts thorough research to explore everything that intertwines with, and influences his ideas. Using these methods, he creates his own story which embraces both real and abstract elements. When expressing his story, he carefully chooses materials that he feels are emotive of the issues within it and relies on his own intuition to tell him where it begins and ends. His artwork is personal, in that it expresses his own ideals, however, he also feels it is important to illustrate the voices of those affected by the topics he explores. Each piece of work is, therefore, a multifaceted narrative of human responses and emotions told in his unique voice. He is currently exploring the intertwining nature of legacy and traditional ideas with the modern age.
Luca Curci – What are you currently working on?
Ryoji Morimoto – I am currently working on exploring the intertwining nature of legacy and traditional ideas with the modern age. I am interested in human beings and the social predicaments caused by them and would like to discover more. My works are based on my daily life such as chatting with others, walking, watching the news and reading books etc. I combine the things I have experienced with other subjects to add a different value to elements of daily life. Also I try to find different viewpoints of our society.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
RM – I was born in Kochi, a rural area of Japan. My simple upbringing infused my childhood with the legacy and lifestyle of coexistence with nature. In my early adulthood I moved to Tokyo to find my passion. There I was captivated by the dynamic environment with its vibrant sub- culture, advanced technology and diverse people and ideas. The contrasting lifestyles inspired me to discover the world and so I left my home country to live in Bath in the UK. Through my schooling, voluntary work, socialising and trips I was exposed to new cultural and societal influences. These influences juxtaposed all of those I grew up with, adding a distinct depth to my work.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
RM – I think the role the artist plays in the society is showing other perspectives and portraying different values. When people see something, they tend to perceive it in one way, however, when they can see it in different way, they might find it has a new value or their way of thinking about it may change. If so, they might see the world differently and expand their horizons. To me contemporary art is a tool to let them communicate with different ideas or values, and it is one way to express to the world how I, as an artist, see the world.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
RM – Finding different values and creating artworks which really express the ideas is the most challenging part for me. Researching about it and incorporating different subject help me to discover different values. I think there are numerous ways to express the idea and it is important to think which way is the most suitable. Ultimately I believe that artwork should be unique and tell the audience about different values.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
RM – I think my style is changing in my way of expressing. I do not change my style, I try to accept everything and understand. However, sometimes this process changes my perspective or values. I always challenge myself to create something new, so I am passionate about using different technique, materials and medias.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the festival or as a part of preexisting works?
RM – I created the artwork for the festival. I was thinking to create something human about COVID-19. When people get COVID-19, they and people around them are not really able to do anything, however, they want to do something for it and pray to something. Praying might not work for it, however, doing it lets them think they are doing their best for COVID- 19. Then I created a motif which people can pray to. I used cardboard inside to reflect the masses of cardboard emergency beds that had to be constructed to cope with the growing number of cases. I covered the cardboard with used fabric in which I believe dwell the feelings of others.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
RM – I agree with your vision of art, and the theme of the festival is interesting. I think our bodies are 3D and need to be active to get a sense of accomplishment. In the modern era society is heavily influenced by technology. However I feel that connection via technology is somewhat intangible to us as humans. This is because of our physical form and the stimulus it receives is what makes us feel alive. I feel like that currently technology is being developed to try to dissolve this barrier between our bodies, technology and society. Our mind and soul do not have a physical form so they can adopt these changes. Although this merging is an abstract idea, that is difficult for us to perceive and may lead to us losing our autonomy. The body needs something to face to get a sense of accomplishment. Technology tries to fuse us and our society together, however this means we lose something to face because we now must face society to get the sense.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
RM – I think it is an essential platform for artists which helps us to communicate with others and give opportunities to share different values.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
RM – Yes I would. I am a new to art industry and did not really know how to proceed to join this kind of art festival and was worried. But people from ITSLIQUID kindly explained to me what I need to do and gave me helpful advice and so I highly recommend any collaboration with you.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
RM – I really enjoyed cooperating. The theme you set is interesting and also challenging. I feel that it is difficult to think deeply about something really close to us and see every day but do not really consider.