Trot, trot, trot…Toyoshima always comes over driving her small car, a few days before the opening of her exhibition, or in the afternoon of the previous day…
"Hello. Thank you for your help again." Giving me a greeting, she begins carrying her works out of the small car into my gallery, and quickly finishes with no need of my help.
Meanwhile, she always spends overwhelmingly much time on the display. The process is similar to Toyoshima's way of creating her artworks. Wavering she considers, considering she wavers, she needs a lot of time before she starts displaying. But once it starts, she devotes herself diligently, and never fails to finish by the evening. Then she greets again, "Thank you for tomorrow", to drive trotting back home.
I wonder how many times I’ve experienced such talks with her. Maybe 10 times or more… I'm awfully sorry…but I definitely want faculty to record something or keep records. I was obsessed by a thought that I have to write something for this collection of works… but I had no idea of what to write, and I was tired from looking for the documents on her past exhibitions… Actually, I began writing today (July 3)… As I have been away from writing decent sentences for a long time, it seems safer for me to depend on my talent in my youth. I’ve just found the catalogue of "Experiment 3", the Toyoshima exhibition I held for the first time, so I’ll write on her and her works quoting the sentences in it.
In the fall of 1990, one catalogue gave me a chance to recognize Toyoshima. It was the catalogue of "ART TODAY '90", an exhibition held in TAKANAWA MUSEUM (SEZON MUSEUM OF MODERN ART) in Karuizawa.
I had been interested in "ART TODAY" exhibitions since I had watched one for the first time in 1987. But I wasn’t able to visit in 1990, so I asked an acquaintance to send me the catalogue. In the catalogue, one of my favorite works "Untitled" with mark-sensing cards was shown. I remember watching the picture of this work excitedly then.
In a white space like an examination hall, desks with chairs are laid out in 4 lines and 3 rows. On each desk there is a mark-sensing card that was drawn out in black except for its blanks to be filled out. Looking at the desk carefully, you can find another card quietly put into each desk, whose every blank is drawn out in black. That's all of this work. Looking at the picture in the catalogue, I feel as if only the traces (the cards drawn out in black) seem left in this desert examination hall and this quiet space seems filled with the sound of pencils by 12 examinees. And besides, the subtle tapping footsteps of an examiner might have acted in unison with the pencil sounds.
As far as you see this work, you must feel a kind of critical perspective against the examination system. But another work in the same catalogue will make you notice her somewhat different perspective. That is an 180m long abacus that Toyoshima calls 'Endless Abacus'. Since it cannot be 'criticizing abacuses', I immediately realized it was a work to turn some concept on the function of the abacus. From this point of view, the work with mark-sensing cards above also can be regarded as an act toward the mark-sensing card itself, and the examination system is quoted just as a framework. I'm interested in her presentation of these void situations going around in circles.
These are the sentences I wrote quoted from the catalogue of "Experiment 3", in which I also remarked on 'Safety Pins', 'Pencils', 'Rulers' and so on… After "Experiment 3" Toyoshima changed her style of work dramatically and went into the world of artwork participating in the real social systems…which she scarcely needs to revise…such as stocks and insurances. But on the other hand, she began to make wooden works created from the first step she had never tried before. Cotemporary artists may have to start from groping for the meaning of the creating works, to discover 'the real thing' of art. Toyoshima has been developing her career as an artist, solving such problems as this. It will be my greatest pleasure if this collection can be a help to understand her results to as many people as possible.
Writing down all these sentences, I'm gradually realizing why it felt hard for me to make comments… It is partly because I had to write these sentences without knowing any outline about what will be this collection, leaving everything on it to Toyoshima… But it can be because of myself that excuse my negligence after all.
July 3, 2013
M Gallery, Eisuke Mimura