TSUYOSHI HISAKADOUntitled, 2015, wood, Japanese cypress, paper, aluminium, light, brass, fan and sound, dimensions variable. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Singapore.


Tsuyoshi Hisakado

Ota Fine Arts
Japan Singapore

TSUYOSHI HISAKADO, Untitled (detail), 2015, wood, Japanese cypress, paper, aluminium, light, brass, fan and sound, dimensions variable. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Singapore. 

Ota Fine Arts recently held the exhibition “Quantize,” the Singapore debut of Kyoto-based artist Tsuyoshi Hisakado. Originally trained as a sculptor, Hisakado has been composing odd structural soundscapes for over a decade based on a grammar of the familiar (footsteps, the sound of washing dishes, stammerings of static), which he choreographs as staged “environments.” “Quantize” involved five of Hisakado’s most recent works, which effectively transformed the gallery itself into a polyphonic installation.

At Ota Fine Arts, Hisakado’s Untitled (all works 2015) imposed random sound upon the irrationality surrounding the concept of pi. The piece comprises a large octagonal table made of Japanese cypress, precise in its beveled edges and smooth grain. Pages of identical notebook paper stamped with minute digits—comprising a barely perceptible decimal progression of pi—are laid out around the circumference of the table, alongside a wooden spool. (The artist likens each page to a single day in a life; the spool is intended to unite the pages into one scrolled composition.) Hanging above the table is a solitary light bulb, which ignited in “reaction” to the rough, macro-resonance of various sounds that raged throughout the gallery. Hisakado carefully curates the soundtracks for all of his works from an extensive personal library of ambient recordings, which he programs to play at random. Untitled includes the rasp of tearing paper, along with a gravelly tumult that suggests surf on a shingle beach. Then there are ghostly snatches of voices, ambiguous tonal pitches and the on-off of a mechanical switch, punctuated by an occasional disconcerting sneeze. These sounds shimmered and erupted across the gallery in slow tonal shufflings, or in sudden rhythmic volleys, only to fall into a suspicious silence. Opposite the table, a small electric fan blew arbitrary pulses of air into white gauze curtains, which, like the crossfades of sound, rippled in erratic waves.

TSUYOSHI HISAKADO, after that #2, 2015, clock movements, wood, acrylic mirror and brass, 48 × 480 × 15 cm. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Singapore. 

TSUYOSHI HISAKADOafter that #2 (detail), 2015, clock movements, wood, acrylic mirror and brass, 48 × 480 × 15 cm. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Singapore. 

The term “quantization” refers to a process in the production of electronic music that corrects and refines imprecisions in an audio recording—just as, in a similar sense, Hisakado elucidates opaque aggregations of sound as lucid components of experience. Two framed pencil and pigment drawings at Ota Fine Arts, entitled Documentize 1 and Documentize 2, illustrated how the artist assigns ricochets of noise within a specific space, which he reimagines as a formal grid. The artist scores a computer program, wherein disparate elements—fan, curtain, light bulb and sounds—interact within the space at random, in ever-unique compositions. Hisakado considers these phenomena of “disappearing sculpture” to be as valid as any solid sculpture.

In an installation titled after that #2, Hisakado plays with visual distraction to repress our recognition of sound. He collaged hundreds of small, circular mirrors, which he mounted on a wall in the gallery. As a whole, the collage merged shattered reflections of the gallery interior, while emitting an indefinite murmur. Individually, each mirror features a delicate second-hand—like that of a clock—which itself is tipped with a tiny mirror. These revolve and tick audibly at varying paces, some stately, others frantically, in a twitchy ensemble of gleam and shadow. By listening patiently, and ignoring the silvery imagery, one gradually perceives Hisakado’s aural deceit: a chorus of reverberation woven of myriad rhythms. Hisakado inverts this experience in a work entitled Crossfades #2Crossfades is a solitary panel of washi paper that hangs like a painting on the wall. It, too, has a lively second-hand that appears to trace a slender, penciled circle. Peering through a diminutive loupe on the brass-wire hand, however, this seemingly solid circle is revealed as a spiral composed of thousands of miniscule digits of pi: an infinity of pi. A faint clockwork movement is just barely audible.

In his curiously precise arrangements of the random moment, Hisakado’s distillations of sound and gesture vacillate between babel and semantics. After experiencing “Quantize,” one’s ears re-calibrated, and any chance noise—a squeaky wheel, distant thunder, running water—assumed unexpected eloquence.

“Quantize” was on view at Ota Fine Arts, Singapore, from August 21 to October 10, 2015.