From October 12 to November 14, Naoko Tsurudome exhibits "L'histoire continue", a series of 80 etchings. To exhibit 80 etchings is a feat of both creativity and virtuosity, given the complexity of the work involved. Each drawing comes from a copper plate that is acid-etched in successive baths, and the drawing is inlaid on the plate, which serves as a matrix. This matrix, inked and pressed, deposits the drawing in negative on the paper. We understand the patience and passion that drive Naoko, and the particular emotion that is imprinted in each of her drawings.
In "L'histoire continue", a subtle and delicate link connects the engravings to each other: everything begins on a turquoise-blue background with a small red envelope, and the story continues, led by a hedgehog, a mouse, an elephant, a boat, a snail, a bird... who travel from drawing to drawing. Naoko captions each of her prints with a haiku-like sentence, like a very short poem, which gives the image its full meaning. It is the assembly of image and text that becomes the complete work. In this exhibition, as in all Naoko's work, words are of crucial importance, indispensable for grasping the work in its entirety. "History Continues" speaks of life and death, of the world and the self, of that thread, without beginning or end, that holds us to hope and joy. Naoko's sublime text must be read and reread, each word weighing and distilling immense meaning and poetry, and standing on its own without comment.
"Something happens to you, that makes you look into the setting sky at the changing color that has no name, that makes you smell all the flowers you pass, that makes you pick a clover even with three leaves when they're heart-shaped. Then it all disappears, suddenly, or very slowly. It seems to be the end of the world. There's nothing left, you feel. But it's not that there's nothing left. There is despair and sadness. As long as there's despair and sadness, there's hope and joy. If there's no light, there's no shadow. If you live in a vacuum, you smell nothing. No joy, no sadness. The world is filled with air so you can smell. Even if you stop, the air flows around you. You only look up to see things moving and the world alive. The world goes on even after, after the end.
A bird sings somewhere; a crescent moon appears; a bud sprouts on a late winter's day. If you pay a little attention. All this gives you pure, unconditional joy, even if it's desperately fleeting. A tiny feeling leaves a trace. There will be another, and another. History continues to take shape inside you."
Naoko scans and draws everything she sees. She is interested in animals, plants and everyday objects. What catches her eye, consciously or unconsciously, gradually appears in the process of creating the engraved plate. Combined, the various elements of her pure, stylized compositions form a singular, poetic universe conducive to storytelling and the drifting of our imagination.
The influence of Japanese art and civilization is evident in her fine, quirky and humorous work. But Naoko's love of the French language is evident in her delight in playing with its expressions and words to compose evocative titles that engage the viewer and stay with them.