Born in Japan and raised in Borneo, Malaysia until the age of 4, artist Kyoco Taniyama has led a highly nomadic existence since the day she was born. Her work is inspired by the histories and characteristics of the places that she has experienced. Her site-specific installations, art projects and public art works are research based, and encourage audiences to see the local identities of each area in a new light. In turn, the relationships that emerge between the new surroundings and herself through these projects helps her recognize her own identity. Often integrating the coordinates of latitude and longitude, her work has been developed around the concept of “ubiety”, an archaic word used to describe the condition or quality of being in a place, of being located or situated.
Curator/artist Ichiro Irie invited Taniyama to develop a work as part of a group exhibition “About Place” at University of La Verne Harris Gallery featuring 8 artists who make work around the concept of place and geography. The exhibition was scheduled to open April 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic measures took place. Like many projects and events around the world, the group exhibition has been postponed until the university can open its doors to the public again.
Click on the images below to view video clips of the exhibit.
As a prelude to the “About Place” project, Kyoco Taniyama will present the kinetic sound sculpture “Sound from the golden age” as an online solo exhibition. For this presentation, Taniyama looks no further than the history of La Verne itself, and in particular the history of its once prosperous citrus industry within the context of California’s prominent citrus and agricultural economies.
As she began her investigations about the history of La Verne, and the history of California’s citrus industry, she watched numerous archival films that included footage from packinghouses where oranges and lemons would be packed and created for distribution. She noticed that in all these films that missing were the original sounds which would have been coming from these packinghouses. Replacing these “noises” was some sort of narration or background music.
For this exhibition Taniyama has created a phonograph player sitting on wood crates with a specially produced vinyl record that emits the noises from a real orange packinghouse. The viewer/participant is able to turn the player with their own hand, and sound is amplified by a bullhorn made by the artist. She considers these sounds as experiences that might be “echoing in the workers’ heads or in their memories.” With this piece, the artist hopes to conjure the city of La Verne’s historical origins by filling the Harris gallery space with the aural atmosphere of a bygone era.
We would like to thank Nomura Foundation and Pasadena Art Alliance for their respective support for Kyoco Taniyama and the “About Place” project and exhibition.
Kyoco Taniyama has exhibited her work extensively in Japan as well as international events and venues such as Fuchu Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, Hakone Open Air Museum in Kanagawa, Japan, Bradwolff Projects × ZBK Zuidoost in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the 2010 and 2103 editions of Setouchi Triennale in Kagawa, Japan, and the 2009 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in Niigata, Japan. She was a recipient of the prestigious Bunkacho Agency for Cultural Affairs fellowship (2018-2019), and the Asian Cultural Council fellowship (2012-2013). Taniyama received her graduate and undergraduate degrees at Musashino Art University. She currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.