Aug 06 2021

Gigantic Face Floated in the Tokyo Sky For Art Project

by ArtAsiaPacific

*This is a sponsored post.

目[mé]masayume, 2019–21, Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13. Photo by Kozo Kaneda.

masayume was produced and curated by the contemporary art team  目[mé] as one of the Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13 commissions. The gigantic floating face was finally unveiled in Tokyo on July 16, 2021, after being postponed for a year.    

目 [mé] has been making a splash with their original and creative works at international art festivals and exhibitions. masayume was conceived out of a dream that 目 [mé] artist Haruka Kojin had when she was in junior high school, and it evolved into a spectacle of a gigantic face floating in the familiar sky of Tokyo. The project invited submissions of faces from all over the world—regardless of age, gender, or nationality—resulting in more than 1,000 faces gathered via the project’s website and the 15 workshops held in 12 locations in Tokyo from March to June 2019. In order to realize the artist’s concept of “delivering the work as an independent experience for each person who encounters it,” the date, time, and location of the project’s launch were not announced in advance. Encountering the work by chance is one of the important elements.

masayume aims to be a work of art that doesn’t require a crowd to gather in one place to view it, but can be experienced and shared in different places, times, and environments through various channels such as live streaming, social media, and mass media. The floating face is roughly the size of a six- or seven-story building. The face’s model and the method of flotation are not disclosed.

masayume can be viewed in various formats on the official website and social media accounts #masayume.

目[mé]masayume, 2019–21, Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13. Photo by Kozo Kaneda.

Artist Statement

Amid our current crisis, which has been going on for more than a year, the clear structure to plan and execute something that has previously supported us is collapsing. Even though we are taking steps to navigate this reality, the feeling of being real in our daily lives is as uncertain and unclear as if it were far into the future.

Needless to say, the medical and economic perspectives that we see and hear every day are indispensable, but they are not enough to grasp and accept this reality—we need another perspective, another way of looking at things. In the Copiapó mining accident in Chile1, miners trapped deep underground for 69 days gradually found roles such as pastors, doctors, and reporters in the midst of their difficult lives and found a “small society” in the dark and narrow space. The way we look at things is sometimes directly connected to our survival.

This current crisis, which has been described as a humanitarian disaster, was undoubtedly brought about by humans, but it is still difficult to accept at times. However, no matter how difficult the situation, we must try to see and capture it with sensibility. It is okay to find something out later. Humans, who are already here without being asked, have always found the meaning of this world and its existence “after the fact” through imagination, with a broad perspective. While it’s difficult to find meaning now during this crisis, we nevertheless must not stop looking to face these difficulties.

The anonymous face floats in the Tokyo sky unexpectedly.

masayume will be carried out suddenly and without prior notice nor a clear reason, just like an image a 14-year-old Japanese girl saw in a dream, momentarily disabling the ordinary. The face of an existing person will be seen by many viewers from various places through social media and media. And the face will be gazing back at us from the skies in the midst of this pandemic. It is as though we are a part of the spectacle.

masayume will continue to face difficulties in the future, but, no matter what, we will continue to imagine and share when we find something.

1 Copiapó mining accident: A mine collapse accident that occurred in August 2010 at a mine in Chile. Thirty-three workers were trapped, but all were rescued 69 days after the accident.

Contemporary Art Team 目 [mé]

The three core members of 目 [mé] are (left to right) director KENJI MINAMIGAWA, artist HARUKA KOJIN, and production manager HIROFUMI MASUI. Photo by Takahiro Tsushima.

目 [mé]

A Japanese contemporary art collective/team project with three core members, artist Haruka Kojin, director Kenji Minamigawa, and production manager Hirofumi Masui. 目 [mé] works on the realization of artworks that manipulate perceptions of the physical world. Their installations provoke awareness of the inherent unreliability and uncertainty in the world around us. Prominent works and solo presentations include Unreliable Reality – The Where of This World (Shiseido Gallery, 2014); Day with a Man’s Face Floating in the Sky (Utsunomiya Museum of Art Outreach Project, 2013–14); Elemental Detection (Saitama Triennale 2016); repetitive objects (Echigo Tsumari Art Triennale 2018); Contact (Roppongi Crossing 2019: Connexions, Mori Art Museum); and Obviously, no one can make heads nor tails. (Chiba City Museum of Art, 2019); among others. 目 [mé] was the recipient of the Takashimaya Cultural Foundation’s 28th (2017) Takashimaya Art Award, and VOCA 2019 Award. New artworks are presented in their 2021 solo exhibition Just a world at SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo.