Black gesture
text by Keishin Nakaseko

from exhibition text of "Art Line Kashiwa 2011 : Water flow bottom of the Night"



I remember the "black painting" that I saw at Art Front Gallery the other day. I believe I am good at being emotional when I look at paintings, although I had have never thought that I would become nervous. It is evident that a sense of touch, trace and material would appear if the artist used her fingers to plaster the paint. However, when I realized that Kabata's technique was not a style of drawing but a type of painting by feeling with the fingers and hands, it is not decent to say, but I was startled.

The image of the Black Tsunami broadcasted on 3.11 burned itself into many people's mind. However, in the TV image, people were completely erased. Kabata’s description of the image as “visible though invisible," implies darkness. Sometimes history, incidents and even daily lives can be thrown into darkness, and the search for whereabouts of the missing is dreadful.
Art cannot save people who are about to be swallowed up and taken off by a fierce tsunami. I assume Kabata was sucked under that black water to search for the “raison d'etre" of innumerable last words and various last glimpses. Well, that is just my arbitrary imagination!
By the way, when I first saw her artworks of books and papers that were blacked out with black ball-point pen, I thought that it looked like the black color of charcoal or Sumi Yaki. It seems that charcoal has the ability to purify water. This black color has two different sides; dirt and purification. It must be very special color for Japanese people. The black color she applied is full of deepness, but sometimes it strokes our fur the wrong way and the black divine of the universe appears. It seems to me that the black she uses can be called an uncertain dreadful black of darkness that crosses boundary

I have been writing only about black today. It looks like her next artworks will be exhibited at the public bath. It seems most suitable for her to exhibit her work at a public place for purification. The exhibition will consist of her recent works of drawings on mirrors and black puddles.

To me, as the son of a public bath owner in Kishu, the relation between the reflections of crooked images in the mirror and black puddles reminds me of a steamed up bathroom and the muddy tub with a man and woman's dirt. I am thrilled to see what will appear.

Kabata's theme of searching for the whereabouts of visibility amid the chaotic scenery of Japan overlap. She could be that unidentified someone who prevents us from straining our sight, straightening the crooked and sharpening the diffuse, helping us see the future in front of us, in the heavy air of "never ending daily lives".