Japanese Artist Manami Uetake Explores the (Im)Possibility of Commemorating Fukushima

WHAT: Imagining Something Unknown, solo exhibition by Manami Uetake (JP)
WHEN: Opening Reception: Tuesday, February 25th 6-9pm
Duration: February 26th-29th, 2020, Tuesday-Saturday 2-7pm, and by appointment (Free entry)
WHERE: SomoS Art House – Kottbusser Damm 95, 1.0G, 10967, Berlin (U8 – Schönleinstraße)

Between February 26th-29th, 2020, SomoS presents the solo exhibition, Imagining Something Unknown, in which Japanese Artist Manami Uetake ponders the (im)possibility of commemorating the Fukushima disaster.

Manami Uetake’s work deals with individual and collective trauma, and how its memory can be meaningfully processed, both privately and publicly, officially and unofficially; a challenge to commemoration culture at large, and a subject highly topical in Germany as well.

Prior to working in Berlin winter 2019/20 in preparation of this exhibition, Uetake has been investigating and documenting monuments in disaster-stricken areas of Fukushima, as well as the private effects.

In her latest work, Imagining Something Unknown, Uetake deepens her inquiry, now especially focusing on the private ways trauma is processed and shared, its possibilities, but also its limits. Her installation of performative videos, conducted and filmed at SomoS, is based on a story of somebody losing their home in the Fukushima disaster. In the videos, the artist asked a random performer not deeply acquainted with the culture and the topic, to share their thoughts and feelings towards it in various media, to virtually put themselves in the victim’s situation, highlighting the challenges of conveying trauma and loss, and the quirks of memory and empathy.

The video installations convey the difficulty of recounting experience, demonstrating the loss that the process of reiteration may bring about. Viscerally making clear the devastating difference between presence and absence, the video installation constitutes a sensitive inquiry into the mechanisms of memory and empathy; of reality and its fleeting representation, of things here today and gone tomorrow.

Imagining Something Unknown presents us with a layered contemplation of memory and remembrance, socially, aesthetically and philosophically.

About Manami Uetake

Manami Uetake holds a M.A in Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan, 2018 and was a guest student at Chelsea College of the Arts in London, 2015. She has since focused on digital photography, video, text, and sound installation to personally engage viewers. Uetake has exhibited extensively throughout Tokyo, including her solo show Still Ongoing at TAP Gallery and the group exhibition Typhoon and Order at Gallery 35 minutes. She was also selected for the 13th “1_WALL” Photography award at Guardian Garden Gallery Tokyo in 2015 and was a finalist at the 17th “1_WALL” Photography award in 2017.