JKG Odéon

April 5 - June 1

Jean-Kenta Gauthier Odéon
5 rue de l'Ancienne-Comédie  75006 Paris

Opening: Thursday 4 April, 5 - 8 pm
Hours: Wed - Sat, 2 - 7 pm

   Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are greeted by a strong metallic smell. Opposite, a wall covered with drawings of the same strange gun. The unsettling sensation of being the first person to intervene at the scene of a crime. As indicated in the handwritten note pinned to the wall: “8 July 2022. The noise and smell would have led some to believe that it was a firework display. In the white smoke, time suspended.” Hanako Murakami wrote these words on the packaging of a flash sheet, the 19th century ancestor of the photographic flash, which produced an intense source of light for the duration of the shot by exploding a quantity of magnesium.

   For the past two decades, Hanako Murakami (born 1984 in Tokyo, lives in Paris) has been pursuing a vast poetic investigation into the beginnings of photography. For Flashback — both the title of the exhibition and of the main installation — the artist continued her investigation by combining it with a recent historical event: the day in July 2022 when the whole world was the incredulous witness to the assassination in a public square of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Pinned to the ground, the perpetrator, Tetsuya Yamagami, dropped his weapon: an imposing homemade gun that, it was later revealed, had been assembled using rudimentary components purchased mostly online. The murderer is believed to have taken revenge for a childhood destroyed by a sect whose expansion would be no stranger to the actions of the Abe family - a past with which Hanako Murakami is familiar. In a country where homicides are almost non-existent and weapons are inaccessible, the perpetrator had to fabricate his own weapon.

   When the tools don’t exist, or are out of reach, you have to invent them. This is the proposal of Hanako Murakami: the visceral need that animated Tetsuya Yamagami reflects artists’ existential needs. Like the pioneering 19th century inventors who, before the official advent of photography, created their own tools to reproduce the world’s first images. Or Miroslav Tichý the Czech artist who made his own cameras gleaning scraps of metal and glass. This is the final element in the installation: opposite the multiplied reproduction of the homemade gun entitled What Is an Apparatus? (2024), Hanako Murakami presents a unique drawing of Tichý camera. The two devices face each other, and while they correspond in their rudimentary aspects, the camera’s presence acts like a peaceful way out of existential impulses. This is the path chosen by Hanako Murakami, whose fascination with these inventors is a metaphor for a conviction: artists must always create their own means.

— Jean-Kenta Gauthier, avril 2024

   This exhibition was created in collaboration with Domitille Michalon, VP Perfumer at IFF.
IFF, a world leader in fragrance creation, supports numerous artistic collaborations through “IFFxLa Fabrica”, an internal initiative designed to bring together creative artists and artistic institutions from all horizons.

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