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Mio Shirai

Across the river

Dream of Teeny


Mio Shirai exhibited Dream Of Teeny and Across The River at Leaving Language at The Metropole Gallery Folkestone 

Mio Shirai's telegenic tonalities mix fabricated landscape in narratives that make life's inevitable dramas seem easier ... if only just a teeny. With an eloquence across a variety of mediums, including sculpture, film and textiles the artist is an experienced narrator of ideas, giving a gentle nudge to those fables that help us along in the awkward steps of an adult world. With works that allow a space for the objectivity of play and remind us that every nation began as a series of stories and legends. 


Across The River, the  large tapestry by Mio Shirai which retells a perennial tale of crossings., symbolic or actual, on arrival in the gallery it was unfolded and tied with black ribbon then suspended from the ceiling. The curator and the Artist discussed how it functioned in dialogue with the Artworks around it. The richness of the image was to be a scenic device that pulled everything together in its multiple threads of embroidery.

A scaffolding was erected and the Artists helped to secure its position. A colourful patchwork of shapes that captured ironically a classical landscape rendered in the off cuts of an upcycled contemporary moment. It initiated a series of routes through the space and acted as a centre of gravity for everything around it.


Across The River gently guided visitors with it's magical waters flowing between a mountainous landscape, in Japan legendary spirits can gather on the banks of rivers and play havoc with humans. The day of the opening there was a distant and savage laughter cracking into thunderous sky, turning pavements into temporary streams and gullies. Who was now travelling across these waters, maybe an invisible boatman had come to transport the spirits of the sea and introduce them to a language of another place?"


During the email correspondences refining the conceptual blocks of the exhibition, another work had come to the foreground. This work gently unpicks the patriarchal narratives of the Artworld.

Dream Of Teeny is a behind the scenes glimpse of the relationship between Marcel Duchamp and Teeny. In 1954 he married Alexina Sattler, Teeny's daughter later remembered: "My mother told me that at one point Henry Miller had a crush on her, but he was rather vulgar ... whereas Marcel had a very light touch."


This light fingered characteristic alas may have also extended to the Art works. It is suggested that the women in his life were often robbed of their ideas and even pseudonyms, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, used R. Mutt as a name when sending a urinal to Marcel Duchamp as a sculptural gift. Later exhibiting this work but forgetting to say that the signature was not what it had been before.

Three monochrome pillows were hung in the second chamber of the exhibition like Polaroids of a distant day in the countryside. Tied around a large Corithian column and a wall that divided the gallery, the viewer could stand close to these Artworks and wonder at the stories captured.

Waugh Office was established in 2011 by Julia Waugh and Mark Waugh,

 as a hybrid platform curating exhibitions, events and publications internationally

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