Simon Preston is pleased to present Kara Tanaka’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, comprising of a series of sculptures collectively titled ‘Hungry Human (Mountain Hunter)’. The show will open to the public on Sunday, 16 January and run until Sunday, 20 February 2010.
Evoking René Daumal’s bizarre and metaphorical novel ‘Mount Analogue’, and, in turn, Jodorowsky’s 1973 psychedelic cult movie ‘The Holy Mountain’, ‘Hungry Human (Mountain Hunter)’ attempts both an historical account of the conquering of sacred mountains and the internal quest for a mythical mountain and its promise of Enlightenment. In the front gallery, the shrouded forms of thirteen known sacred mountains physically complicate the path leading toward the gigantic profile of an ethereal insurmountable summit that occupies the entire back gallery. The shrouding of these mountains continues the artist’s investigation of the metaphorical distance between the biological human and the metaphysical self or other.
The artist has undertaken several ambitious examinations into the possibility for human transcendence. Firstly, exploring the spiritual ecstasy of the whirling Dervish in ‘Crushed by the Hammer of the Sun’ (2008) and, more recently, through the deferential absence of the physical body in the thirteen embalming tables that comprise ‘A Sad Bit of Fruit, Pickled in the Vinegar Grief’ (2010). In addition to an interest in myth and poetry, her sculptures each act as an experiment toward detachment and move toward an enlightened, evolved state of being. Tanaka stacks up religious and philosophical histories against the future’s exponential advances in technology and then uses a mash- up of those ideas to break into the world’s treasury of unknowns: consciousness, transmigration, the quest for immortality, a purpose beyond the physical body, survival in the open universe.
Kara Tanaka received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2008, BA from the University of California, Irvine in 2005, and a Postgraduate Diploma from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2006. Recent exhibitions include ‘A Sad Bit of Fruit, Pickled in the Vinegar Grief’ at the Collezione Maramotti, Italy (2010), ‘Deaths Boutique’, a two-person show with Marco Rios at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2010) and ‘Dissolver’ at LAXArt.