_the meaning of meaninglessness

On works by Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashik

Meaninglessness is an evaluation mechanism with social connotations. However, the criteria applied to descriptions of action are highly subjective and there is no doubt that they may be conceived without respect to cultural evolution. The works of the Japanese artist duo Mai Yamashita and Naoto Kobayashi suggest such an understanding. Influenced by rational thinking since the Enlightenment, Europeans could maintain that every one of the duo’s sculptures, actions or films provides a fresh example of meaninglessness. But the meaning of meaninglessness is precisely what these artists are attempting to trace. This becomes especially obvious in works like Infinity (2006), whereby they spent several days untiringly trampling the symbol of infinity into a lawn in order to ‘eternalise it’.

img_dialektik der aufmerksamkeit
Be Magazin #18. Berlin: Künstlerhaus Bethanien, 2011. p. 114. German/English. Translation by Lucinda Rennison.
The magazine can be bought and ordered at bestellung@bethanien.de.
For more information on the artists‘ work see www.yamashita-kobayashi.com