kyoco taniyama BijlmAIR artist-in-residence
tea talks お茶と祖国
17 July 2016 - 31 July 2016
The research-based art project Tea Talks by Japanese artist Kyoco Taniyama at Bradwolff Projects is in collaboration with the BijlmAIR residency programme of the CBK Zuid-Oost arts centre and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam. The title Tea Talks refers to the conversations Taniyama had with immigrants of different nationalities living in the Bijlmer. The exhibition will show the collected documentation and a special tea table will be placed in the project space. During the opening on July 17 participants will join the Tea Talks performance.
Who am I and where do I belong? Is the central question in the work of Kyoco Taniyama. Inspired by childhood memories,Taniyama immerses herself in the backgrounds and places of people to unravel the true answer to this question. She herself moved at a young age from her birthplace Japan to a small village near the jungle in Borneo, Malaysia. After four years her mother decided to return to Japan. A place that they had often described as ‘home’ suddenly felt very unfamiliar. Taniyama continued to move very often thanks to her father’s job at a large trading company, and she found she wanted to memorise all the places where she had lived as clearly as possible.
In 2011 the East coast of Japan was struck by a heavy earthquake and tsunami.Many people’s homes and even their locations were destroyed.This prompted the artist to start documenting the places that were important to the people that surrounded her. She started working with longitudes and latitudes in order to document the geographical position of their ubieties [states of existence]. Inspired by the Japanese concept ‘shozai’, which means ‘address’ as well as ‘existence’, Taniyama tries to search for the relationship between our identity and the world that surrounds us.
The exhibition Tea Talks consists of images, smells and flavors based on the conversations the artist held with people she met during her time in the Bijlmer, a community with people from more than 150 different countries. As a starting point for this project Taniyama took the traditional way of drinking tea as a way to search for tea recipes that evoke the flavor of a place in our memory. By reintroducing the traditional way of drinking tea, Taniyama sets the stage for a dialog about the different meanings of the idea of homeland.
Tea Talks shows us dialogues that transcend boundaries and differences in society. Behind the tea recipes are hidden stories that range from the Surinam River to Asmara in Eritrea. In addition to its rich history, tea also has diverse symbolic meanings within traditions all around the globe. It has an important role that is often overlooked: Tea Talks is a moment of gathering and exchange. A moment where cultural differences can be revealed and make us see where we are and where we come from. In her own way, Taniyama shows us that identities are manifested in specific tastes or smells. Thus, a single cup of tea can be filled with the essence of what it means to be human.
Kyoco Taniyama [1972 Aichi, Japan] studied at the Musashino Art University. In 2012 she received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship Program for a residency in New York. She has exhibited internationally among other Art Center in Los Angeles, Echigo-Tsumari Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art and Museum Haus Kasuya in Japan, Westbeth Gallery in New York and Ivan Dougherty Gallery in Sydney, Australia.