Pernamente Schleuse / Permanent Lock

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Permanent Lock

Hansjörg Fröhlich

2015, exhibition view, Strzelski Galerie, Stuttgart

We are on the way from A to B, from condition X to condition Y, without any dimension of time, except a vague impression of infinity. Standing in front of a painting by Tomomi Morishima is the beginning of a journey. Reality always lies behind the visible. The visible only leads to the next reality. When we reach a plateau, the next already awaits us – ad infinitum.

Morishima does not tell stories but hands us compositions consisting of elements taken from architecture, landscape and figure, and leaves them to our generous interpretation. An interplay of colour fields and empty spaces results in a very airy and surreal image space, consisting of vibrant dashes of colour and flowing layers. Verging on the border of the abstract, a mix of construction and organic painting creates a passage with substantial pull. We can/should step through this passage. The viewer is invited into the painting, literally entering Morishima’s imagery. The images often feature human figures in their centres. But we must overcome shimmering, chimeric obstacles, in order to reach him. What lies behind this superficial image layer seems to belong in a time long since passed. It is nevertheless not a mere memory, but rather a memory of the future. There is no time axis in these images. This shimmering and billowing cosmos receives its static character through architectural interventions: Frame-like constructions set the central contents apart from peripheral contents. These constructions frequently frame a shape. These human figures are usually seen from behind, as if they were saying goodbye to the observer, to the image layer, to the present. But that is not what they do. On the contrary, they invite us to follow them, take our hand and lead us into the depth of the image, as if to show us something. What it is they want to show us? We do not know, the painting does not know and Morishima does not want to know. His images are not only open in the best sense, they are open-ended. The image space is a permanent lock, a place of the ever- lasting transition. Origin and destination are insignificant, only transition is important. A journey without end. Whoever rejects this journey and remains stubbornly in front of the painting looks indifferently at the canvas, like a student in the natural history museum into a case with pre-historic lizards. If you do not journey into Morishima’s colour landscapes, you will only see a diorama and remain a voyeur.

Beside the human figures, monitors are a constant on Morishima’s canvases. Sometimes separate, sometimes stacked in groups, they refer to the media world we live in. What we see on the surface of our screens seems to takes place in the machine itself, but at the same time occurs in a faraway place, at an ultimately fictitious locality. We focus on the screen, but it is actually taking place in a completely indefinite ‘behind’, in a sphere that we can only connect to through the screen we are starring at. All we see is an assumption, all that we think we see are currently not verifiable processes from another, quasi-fictitious world with its own time order. Even the telly is a lock. In Morishima’s paintings, the screens are blind. They do not tell stories, because Morishima does not tell stories.

Transration: Wendy Fox

Tomomi Morishima