Cantocore: Free on Board
2111 Mission St, Suite 401, San Francisco, CA 94110
(show originally installed from February 13, 2009 – March 31, 2009)
Review of the work of Misako Inaoka:
Misako Inaoka’s sculptural hybrid forms evoke notions of dualities, both literally and figuratively speaking. Through cutting up, manipulating and recombining various everyday plastic children’s toys found in street side vendor shops and trinkets stores, Misako addresses the multiplicity of identities and the organic morphologies of contemporary cultural identity. These pieces are simultaneously mutated Frankenstinian creations, but also the laconic and humoristic invention of new toys. Her sculptures are premised on fusing opposites such as the front half of a horse and the back half of a motorbike, or a dinosaur and an airplane to create a new third entity as an absurdist exclamation of impossibility, but also a wish for the propagation of commingling identity.
Perhaps the conceptual underpinning of these sculptures is a reference to Inaoka’s bifurcated identity as both an American, by assimilation, but also as a Japanese by birth. In this way she embodies an evolving identity forming new extensions of her personhood through relocation and transculturation. Misako’s work thereby stands as a unique and splendid investigation into the ways that cultural identity shifts through time and place and in the end settles upon hybridity as it’s amorphous yet definite center.
- Florica Vlad
other selected press from the show:
“Misako Inaoka’s Zen Garden (2009) incorporates many layers of context. Inaoka, born in Kyoto and based in San Francisco, constructed the piece in Guangzhou where, according to the press release, “she discovered a market selling fabricated rocks, grass, and fruit”. Two of the rocks are equipped with wheels and corresponding remote controls allowing visitors to create their own design using a traditionally inanimate object as a vehicle for their inspiration. Inaoka comments not only on the commercialization of the Zen in the US (think mini Zen garden for an office desk) but possibly China’s commercial Zen. The remote-control cars beneath the fabricated rocks are most certainly made in China. A subtle, but poignant detail of Zen Garden hangs precariously with a charger plugged into two adaptors and subsequently into a transformer.” – Katie Farrell, ArtSlant