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System as Medium and System as Motif

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Event organized by Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

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System as Medium and System as Motif
Goro Murayama in conversation with Dr Francis Halsall

This talk is part of the exhibition: Emergence of Order by Goro Murayama
21 March - 25 April 2018
Admission free, Monday–Friday 9.30am–5pm
Daiwa Foundation Japan House
13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London NW1 4QP

Computer system, cultural system, economic system, subsystem, ecosystem… Systems suggest processes which are constantly regulated or structured operations, somehow considered detached from art, the act of human creation and expression. However, Systems Art is an approach associated with the dematerialisation of artworks, the tendency towards taking information and process as a medium, and the rise of cybernetic art in contemporary art.

Murayama is inspired by the notion of Autopoiesis, self-sustaining systems, developed by the Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in 1972. This theory has today been applied to the fields of cognition, law, systems theory, sociology, medicine and beyond. How does he connect this idea to his artistic practice in the hemp painting series, as well as other bodies of works that explore the systems we live in?

Dr Francis Halsall is an art historian and the author of the book, Systems of Art (2008), which examined systems theory and its implications for artistic practice. Where and how could Murayama’s work fit in relation to the history of Systems Art and within current tendencies in artistic practice? What role does Systems Art play in today’s information era? What implications might it have for the autonomy of artists?


Goro Murayama (b. 1983, Tokyo) gained a Ph.D. in Oil Painting from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2015, which included a one-year exchange in 2011 at the Department of Fine Arts, Chelsea College of Arts. From 2015 to 2017, supported by a grant from the Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists, he attended the Global World/Intercultural Philosophy course at the University of Vienna.
His recent solo exhibitions include Disenchanting the Image in Order to Sit down and Look, G/P gallery, Tokyo (2017), Simulational Poiesis, Spektakel, Vienna (2016), Fantasy in prison, Koganei Art Spot Chateau2F, Tokyo (2015), Stratosphere vol.6, Tracing the ‘Self, Goro MURAYAMA’ curated by Masayuki Tanaka, gallery αM, Tokyo (2011), and The re-enchantment of painting system, Shiseido Gallery, Tokyo (2010). Group shows have included VOCA 2013, the Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2013) and MOT Collection / Field of Dreams, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2009). He has also curated the exhibitions Living signs —contemporary portraits—, Koganei Art Spot Chateau2F, Tokyo (2017); Generating Visuals - Inspiring Circuits, Takuro Someya Contemporary Art Kashiwa, Chiba (2013); TRANS COMPLEX - The painting in the Age of Information Technology (touring exhibition), Kyoto Art Centre, Kyoto / AISHO MIURA ARTS, Tokyo (2011). His works are held in the collections of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, the Takahashi Collection, Montblanc Japan, and Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., Ltd.D.

Dr Francis Halsall is Lecturer in Visual Culture at National College of Art and Design, Dublin where he is Co-Director of Masters Programs Art in the Contemporary World. He's currently working on several projects under the general theme of "Systems Aesthetics." More details of his work can be found on his blog: www.alittletagend.blogspot.com

Image: "Self-organized painting[viscera]", 2017, Acrylic on woven hemp string © Goro Murayama