he National Museum of Art, Osaka presents a special exhibition entitled What We See, which will focus primarily on works that make use of the moving image.
In face of ongoing and unparalleled technological revolution that has occurred over the last century, the advent of globalization, and daily life in contemporary society, which is continually inundated with a huge quantity of information, we are exposed to a bewildering amount of change on a daily basis. In the course of ordinary life, the things that are presented as a "reality" sometimes seem to be occurring in a dream, making it seem as if we are experiencing a complete fabrication. At the same time, the realities that are presented as fiction are imbued with a greater intensity, and function no differently from reality, giving us the sense that the line between artifice and actuality is growing increasingly vague.
In the field of art, the concept of reality was nearly always linked to Realism. And by the time photography emerged, unlike painting, it was thought to have the ability to capture a genuine state of reality. It has since become clear, however, that photography does not always embody this function and that the reality it does embody is not necessarily factual. With the rise of the moving image, and the subsequent use of computer graphics and digital technology, scenes that do not actually exist came to be presented with a heightened sense of reality. For example, a film with the characteristics of a documentary that has been edited and molded according to a certain perspective produces a fiction that is detached from reality.
Today, there are many video works that reflect the state of contemporary society in which the distinction between fact and fiction has been lost. In these works, which blend fact and fiction, the artists are asking us to consider the current whereabouts of truth. Does truth exist in something that was created as a fiction? Is reality truth? When reality becomes a fiction, does truth begin to fluctuate? Or on the other hand, when fiction is formulated as reality, does it lead to the emergence of truth?
This exhibition will present a collection of video works by ten artists from around the world including two from Japan: Hiraki Sawa and Shino Yanai. In contemporary society, with its flood of information and images, we must search for the whereabouts of the essential truth contained in the realities and fictions that are presented in these expressions of the moving image.