Makoto Aida


Makoto Aida has been interested in the relationship between Japan and art. It is "Shadow World (Midorikawa, 2015) on the extension of "Shadow (Heidegger, 1950)." This art perfumery, WEEDS, is a scent of "weeds." Even if it has a name, the "weeds" rarely attracts attention and is called the name. Will the scent of "weeds" growing between light and shadow become a friend in the age of crisis?


Shadow World Aesthetics


WEEDS by Makoto Aida is the scent of weeds. Weeds is a general term for a wide variety of grasses that grow in nature. Even if each grass has a name, we call them weeds in general. Weeds are treated as if they exist or not and are either left alone or cut down to clear the land. "Useless" weeds that are not "useful" to humans have probably never been perfumed. WEEDS is an art perfumery that uses the scent of this little-noticed weed. Of course, plants are used in perfumes. They are clearly named and put to "good" use by humans. Weeds, however, are not considered as perfumes. Will the scent of "weeds" growing in the shadow world be a friend in the age of crisis?


Makoto Aida has been interested in the relationship between Japan and art. Throughout his long career, "weeds" have occasionally shown up. In 1996's Weeds in a Flamelike Frame, weeds are depicted on a Rimpa-style background. In 2018's Weeds Cultivation, weeds are cultivated, a train runs on miniature rails surrounding them, and text is quoted on the wall. It is a passage from Ango Sakaguchi's A Personal View of Japanese Culture in 1943. "The destruction of the temples in Kyoto or the Buddhist statues in Nara would not concern us, but if the train stopped running, we'd really be stuck. All that matters to us are the "necessities of life." Even if ancient culture were destroyed, as long as we did not lose our day-to-day lives, and as long as these continue, our uniqueness is undoubted." Quite simply, the emphasis on weeds is shown in Weeds in a Flamelike Frame and the critical treatment of weeds is shown in Weeds Cultivation. And in 2023, if you don't mind saying that, WEEDS is a portrait of Makoto Aida.

会田誠は、日本とアートの関係性に関心を寄せ続けている。その長いキャリアの中で、「雑草」は時折顔を出す。1996年の《火炎縁雑草図》は、琳派のような背景の上に、雑草が描かれている。 2018年の『雑草栽培』では、雑草を栽培し、その周りを囲んだミニチュアレールの上を電車が走り、壁にはテキストが引用されている。それは1943年の坂口安吾による『日本文化私観』の一節だ。「京都の寺や奈良の仏像が全滅しても困らないが、電車が動かなくては困るのだ。我々に大切なのは「生活の必要」だけで、古代文化が全滅しても、生活は亡びず、生活自体が亡びない限り、我々の独自性は健康なのである」。端的に言えば、雑草を重視していることが《火炎縁雑草図》で示され、雑草を批評的に扱っていることが『雑草栽培』で示されている。そして2023年『WEEDS』は、こう言ってよければ、会田誠のポートレートだ。

Shadow World
In 2015, i stated the following in Evangelion and Makoto Aida's Sekai (the world): From "Sekai-kei" to "Shadow-kei". "When we establish a relationship with the world, there exists a perspective from which we objectify the world. In Evangelion, that perspective is Shinji, but strangely enough, in Makoto Aida's work, it does not seem to be Makoto Aida himself. In Evangelion, the "I" is directly connected to the world within the world, whereas in Makoto Aida, the "I" exists indirectly outside the world." Furthermore, Martin Heidegger's The Age of the World Picture is quoted. "This becoming incalculable remains the invisible shadow that is cast around all things everywhere when man has been transformed into subiectum and the world into picture." This suggests that the shadow of the world image created by seeing the world as an image exists as something invisible and unknown. Makoto Aida's works deal with the "shadow" of the World Image. When we think of Makoto Aida's works as reflecting the current Shadow World, we wonder where we are when we see them. The world of weeds is indeed the "Shadow World. It can be thought that Makoto Aida has been depicting "weeds" in the Shadow World. These "weeds of the Shadow World" may have an important place in Makoto Aida's aesthetics.


Bijutsu and Nihon-Ga
WEEDS is the scent of "weeds in the Shadow World." As mentioned above, Heidegger calls it an "incalculable" "Shadow." A world of shadows that cannot be measured. The voiceless voice of the weeds that thrive there is extracted in WEEDS. The "weeds" Aida selected for WEEDS is conyza bonariensis. Conyza bonariensis is a naturalized plant. It was introduced to Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912) and spread throughout the country during the Taisho and Showa periods (1926-1989). This historical background is noteworthy in the relationship between Japan and art, which continues to be a focus of Aida's interest. In 1873, the term "Bijutsu (art)" came into use after the Vienna World's Fair. This "Bijutsu" is strongly tinged as a national education. In 1883, the Tokyo School of Fine Arts was founded, which is today's Tokyo University of the Arts. In 1991, Aida completed his MFA in Painting (Oil Painting Technique and Material Studio) at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Alternatively, "Bijutsu" can be thought of as the Shadow World of art. The reason why "Bijutsu" has not received much attention in the international art world is largely because art is not national education and national education is not art. The term "Nihon-Ga (Japanese Painting)" began to be used in the Meiji period to refer to traditional Japanese painting methods. However the term "Nihon-Ga" did not exist before the Meiji period. The "Bijutsu" and "Nihon-Ga" brought about by the "modernization of Japan" are traced to WEEDS through the aesthetic of "weeds in the Shadow World. WEEDS, based on Conyza bonariensis, is an important art perfumery in considering the relationship between Japan and art after the Meiji period.


Window of Hell
WEEDS neither affirms "Bijutsu" and "Nihon-Ga" in a right-wing way nor denies them in a left-wing way. The natural world in which weeds live is not founded on negation and affirmation. Through WEEDS, we read about its history and the scent of nature. Art depicts the Shadow World. In the Shadow World, there are things that we do not pay attention to, things that are difficult to see, things that cannot be measured. The aesthetics of the Shadow World in art can bring us many realizations and transformations. Or perhaps Makoto Aida's other name is "the weeds of the Shadow World. WEEDS may be another name for Makoto Aida. What does WEEDS as a portrait convey to us on Aida's behalf? What will the scent of this work, which we read in the age of crisis, bring to us? The aforementioned Weeds in a Flamelike Frame is surrounded by a frame that resembles the flames of a hellish painting. In 2012, this work was exhibited in CHAPTER 3, "Reconsidering What It Means to Be Japanese," at MONUMENT NOTHING. It might be easy to talk about Weeds in a Flamelike Frame alongside the collapse of the bubble economy in 1992, the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995, and the Tokyo subway sarin attack. How did the first five years of the "lost 30 years," which are continuing today, affect Aida? The weeds seen from the window of Hell are cool and frugally flourishing.

『WEEDS』は、「美術」や「日本画」を右翼的に肯定することもなければ、左翼的に否定することもない。雑草が生きている自然界は、否定と肯定で成立しているわけではない。わたしたちは『WEEDS』を通して、その歴史と自然の香りを読む。アートはシャドーワールドを描く。シャドーワールドには、わたしたちには注目されていないもの、見えにくいもの、計量しえないものが存在する。アートにおけるシャドーワールドの美学は、わたしたちに多くの気づきや変容をもたらす。あるいは会田誠の別名は、「シャドーワールドの雑草」かもしれない。『WEEDS』の別名は会田誠かもしれない。ポートレートとしての『WEEDS』は、会田に代わって、わたしたちに何を伝えているのだろうか。危機の時代に読むその香りは、わたしたちに何をもたらすだろうか。前述した《火炎縁雑草図》は、地獄絵図の炎のような額縁で囲まれている。2012年、この作品は、『天才でごめんなさい』のCHAPTER 3「日本的であることの再考」で展示された。1992年のバブル崩壊、1995年の阪神淡路大震災と地下鉄サリン事件を並べて《火炎縁雑草図》を語ることは安直かもしれない。現在も続く「失われた30年」のはじめの5年は、会田にどのような影響を与えたのだろうか。地獄の窓から見える雑草は、涼やかに、質素に繁茂している。

No Humans
The Shadow World aesthetic in art is thought to have begun in the mid-19th century. Jean-Francois Millet's The Gleaners in 1857, Gustave Caillebotte's The Floor Scrapers in 1875, and Paul Gauguin's Tahitian Women on the Beach in 1891. All of these works employ subject matter that had not been depicted in art history before. They correspond to the aforementioned "necessities of life." Sakaguchi's limiting condition, "as long as we did not lose our day-to-day lives," has a tense resonance and vibrates within people today. Or even if human life perishes, the life of weeds may not perish. At this point, the difference between Millet, Caillebotte, Gauguin, and Aida is suggestive. They depict people, while Aida depicts weeds. There are no people. And in WEEDS, there is no human scent. Most perfumes are applied to the skin. But who would put WEEDS on their skin? WEEDS leads us to the Shadow World where there are no humans. What kind of world is it? Can we call them our friends? Have we called them our friends?