Masaki Kawada Web

Modest Radicalism

A : We have discussed a lot of things, but I believe that the key questions for you are, What is art? and, When and whre dose it become art?

B : Yes. That seems to cover most of my conserns.

A : But this is the sort of problem that peaple called artist tend to take for granted.

B: That's true, but I think that most peaple evade the question by switching the problem of what art is, to the problem of, for example, what painting or sculpture is.

A : Perhaps, but the problem of painting and sculpture entails the problem of what art itself is. I do not think that this is necessarily an evasion.

B : Well, what is most important is wherther you stand on the hotizon of what art is and when and where it becomes art. If you only consider the means - and painting and sculpture are just means - you may be able to see the horizon but you will never stand on it.

A : Just the same, in order to express yourself you have to choose some means. Even you do that, dont't you?

B : I dont't start by choosing the means. That is decided later.

A : so any means is OK?

B : To put in an extreme way, yes. It depends on what is needed, though. It does not mean that it is all right to do anything at all. If you dont't mind me changing the subject a bit, I would suggest that when you run into really good art, you do not look at it in terms of technique. A decisive use of means is necessary to male something really good, but the means remains just the means. You must go a step beyond the means. And in order to do so it is necessary to realize that the means is just the means.

A : There are some artist, though, who conduct a pure exploration of a single means and come up with something dood. I think they are standing on the horizon you spoke of and you could say that they are able to do it because of purely exploring one means.

B : You talk about exploring one means, but if they are truly exploring just the means, they cannot stand in the horizon I spoke of. Still, the situation may be different if they realize the meand is just the means.

A : If you think if expresing something, the question of what art is, when and where it becomens art, is itself a means, isn't it? You are questioning about art itself. By doing so, you are conducting a pure exploration of one means known as "art," aren't you?

C : Will the sky be clear tomorrow?

(A conversation between the artist and himself conducted at home.)

"Modest Radicalism" / Exhibition Catalogue / Museumo of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (Toyko, Japan) / 1999 / pp.76-83