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     Volume 4 Issue 59 | August 19, 2005 |

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Shiraki's signs and symbols

Splayed out in two galleries, namely Zainul-1 and Zainul-2, Japanese artists Ryusei Shiraki's exhibition is deceptively displayed. After surveying the first gallery Shiraki comes off as a minimalist, expressing his ideas using circle, signs and the number zero. But an excursion through the second gallery reveals his flip side. Here the photographic prints bring forth ideas that explore the post-modern spectrum. Man at night against a backdrop of a park in a city, exposed to strange light, man inside a small cage made out of two bin cases- one capped on the other like a lid, and a flurry of other images that blend his abstract attitude with his photographic images; among these the 'noddle' series is an exploration into the subjective domain -- where the state of mind is expressed by accentuating the feeling of angst -- a ploy of modernist origin.

Like any other Japanese artist visiting Dhaka courtesy of G S Kabir, the expatriate artist who has been instrumental in organising a number of shows of Japanese artists in Dhaka, Shiraki is soft-spoken and his answer to any queries laconic. About the incorporation of noodle in his pictures he cites the example of the American artist Andy Warhole, who used popular signs and symbols from everyday life. "Following his footstep I too sought out a visually interesting element -- which is the noodle", Shiraki explains. "Andy Warhol used to depict cans, I have spilled it out of the can," he emphasises. His means to express himself is the mixed media. In the second gallery most of his works are digital print mixed with lithography.

As for the pure prints -- those that are done only using the lithography medium -- Shiraki sticks to the minimal display of form. In many a work in the first gallery a meticulously drawn number 'zero' turns into an object of contemplation.

"Zero symbolises the journey of life, from its beginning to the end. Everything ends where it started, zero aptly encapsulates that idea," Shiraki explains. Two of his medium size zero is drawn horizontally, perhaps to accentuate the affect of the white space inside it.

He has displayed a series of lithographs where he painted the bottom half of the picture plain black while putting sign on the top. The signs are his own interpretation of universally known subject matter. Yet his manipulation has lent them a new dimension, as in the work titled 'Current', the sign almost look like the logo of Niko.
While in Bangladesh Shiraki was moved by the spectales of old Dhaka. He plans to draw on his experience in Chowkbazar, where colours seem to have inspired him the most, as soon as he gets back to Japan.


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