Blue Codes
"Eight Individuals From EAST" Tokyo Exhibition
Sagacho Exhibit Space, Tokyo, Japan
Mar. 30- Apr.27, 1990
Setting New Standards
of Inconsistency

Derek Jones
Art Journalist
Asahi Evening News Apr. 13, 1990

Ichi Ikeda's three large canvas books bearing the words 'Individual', 'Nation' and 'Earth' and soaking in a basin of steaming blue liquid are not only bizarre and compelling, but they are an extension of his provocative 'earth drawings.' Setting up the conditions by which a natural process will stain and mark his canvases, Ikeda evokes 'texts' from nature which he later uses in performance described as 'reading'. Amidst the potpourri of works seemingly jury-rigged for an undergraduate critique, Ikeda's work stands out in its clarity of process, originality and effective blending scale, aesthetic and concept‹precisely those aspects that one finds lacking among the other artists.
Now the 3 TRANSFORMATIVE events are 'earth', 'nation', 'individual'

From me, the dispatcher, the additional sense of water
Undulates and circulates to bring time to a boil
Standing on a segment of this time,
The 3 'nows' are narrated

Well, how far did we write?
At the water¹s edge the discussion of art is torrid
And agitated like steam
Lightly, they floats to the surface,
The artists, by way of Post-Object Culture

The three volume of Blue Code are placed
into steaming water troughs for one month.
At the end of the exhibit, they are lifted
through the water surface and completed

From ³Dead Language²
to ³Living Words²

Mika Furukawa
art journalist

A blood scorching wind rushed into the orderly, calm 1990 spring atmosphere of Tokyo from the neighboring Korea peninsula. It was the beginningof ³Eight Individuals From EAST², a joint project between Japanese and Korean artists.
When different cultures come in contact or when viewing another culture from its outskirts, one¹s viewpoint is consciously or unconsciously restricted by influences of one¹s own cultural sphere. Yet, despite this limitation, if given the chance to join an exchange with a heterogenous culture, along with understanding and misunderstanding, one can verify the very roots of human creation. Such an exchange would also initiate a shift to greater dynamism ³Value gained with the exchange of currency.²Corrupt politicians have imposed this standard of value on us. Even their plausible appearance have been turned into an empty form of currency known as ³information². Japan appearto have become a country whose culture consists of insati-able consumption and information by equating ³vacuousstate of value² with the ³hollowing of the truth². With a culture so enshrouded in rhetoric, there is the worry that when meeting with different cultures, like Korea, the event will be superficially recorded and filled away in apan¹s greatrhetorical stock. Having said this however, the artists did hit it off, lights sparkled and the curtain was raised.
Throughout the event, of its own accord, Ichi Ikeda¹s pieceand accompanying performance at the Sagacho Exhibit Space shed light on the true intent of this Japanese-Korean project.
Three cloth books labeled Individual, Nation and Earth were sunk in a shallow tin pool heated to a vapor by nichrome wire.
As exhibited, the particular characteristics of the tin, water and steam were vibrantly and majestically luminated, but when they were joined with the artist¹s actions, the implicit qualities of the united whole were made manifest. In the Performance, the flesh and blood body and voice of the individual, Ichi Ikeda, met in an exchange with the forementioned matter. This demonstrated a relationship and continuity very subtle in nature. There was matter: water, air, vapor. There were beings: Ichi Ikeda, me the viewers, the human being you; and then that which surrounded all of the above: air, space, structure. It was enlightening to feel the interaction of each element all a part of the whole. In addition to this, he showed us the setting where concepts and ideas are distilled. The books Individual, Nation, Earth ­ these three codes had movement, formed time, made history and continuously and unabatedly ueged us to verify our concepts just as a living being might have. Even now, they ask us to question our current place in the perpetual time and space that carried us to the present and which will continue on. It was a performance that sought
to make invisible history apparent, and in doing so, synchronize it among different cultures to offer a feasible 'universal communication'. On this ³earth², the ³individual² is invariably tied to and confined by the narrow-minded concept of ³nation². While we interpreted Ikeda¹s performance through our own culture¹s code, did we not sense beyond the process of mankind¹s creation a universal point of agreement?
When completed by an artist, works of art are generally placed free standing in front of viewers. How the peace is handled there-after is a subject left predominantly to politicians. In other words, the place of art in the world is determined by politics. It is the role of culture to obtain this relationship between politics and art.
Fitting in with this notion, Ichi Ikeda¹s performance and the aim of his Japan-Korea project, while being art and existing independ-ently within art, accomplished the relativization of art¹s position. With their cultural theme, they also served as a trigger that made us point our perceptions toward the everyday confronting us.

Ichi Ikeda in performance. He places his 'breath' into the heated pool with the books. The circulation of the water causes the book¹s message to rise to the surface.
canvas, galvanized sheet iron, heater, blue water