hermes Tapetum Lucidum

Fondation dʼentreprise Hermès presents Tapetum Lucidum by Tam Ochiai

When it comes to art, vision and style, Hermes is no stranger to all three. True to its foundation’s vision — the Fondation dʼentreprise Hermès — their work continuously embodies its cultivation of authenticity, diversity, and inclusivity by actively exploring and engaging with what the world has to offer.

For this year’s exhibit, the Fondation dʼentreprise Hermès organized an art exhibition for New York-based artist Tam Ochiai, whose works are currently in the National Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan.

See also: 160 Years of German-Japanese Friendship

Hermes Japan
Installation view of cat curving | 2011 – Yokohama Triennale 2011, Yokohama ©Tam Ochiai

Tam Ochiai, 54 years old, was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1967, and in 1990 he decided to move to New York City, United States. After gaining his M.A. degree from New York University, he had his first solo exhibition in 1993.

Aside from having his collections in the National Museum of Art in Osaka, his work can also be seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

Tam Ochiai’s style of work is not only focused on one medium. In fact, he also works in various media such as painting, sculpture, drawing, video, performance, poetry, and other writing and printed matter. He’s also known for using the walls of the exhibition space as a continuation of his art whenever he installs his drawings.

ashtray sculpture Guitar List | 2017 | Mixed media ©Tam Ochiai

For this year’s exhibition at the Fondation dʼentreprise Hermès, Tam Ochiai’s works of art for the past 25-years will be featured; from painting, sculpting, video, all the way to photography, it will highlight the open-ended journey of connection, linkages and severances of things that each piece of art possess.

The title Tapetum Lucidum, which means “bright tapestry” in Latin, refers to a reflective layer behind the retina, which increases the amount of light for night vision in many nocturnal animals. It allows the light to reflect outward and therefore gives a second chance for visual pigments to absorb very low-intensity light. It is also understood as the reason why cats’ eyes glow in the dark.

august|2018|Oil on canvas|©Tam Ochiai

The Tapetum Lucidum, which is not visible in the human eye, offers a piece of similarity and a fitting analogy for Tam Ochiai’s work and thought-process. His skillful yet humorous pieces of art suggest similarities to Tapetum Lucidum, wherein luminosity from things we don’t easily notice are absorbed, and things we are not usually aware of now emit reflected light for an instant. While his works appear to be incomplete, you’ll notice that the pieces and the fragments acts as a piece of a puzzle that constantly disrupts the whole picture, and therefore cannot be reduced to a single story.

This exhibition, which is Tam Ochiai’s unique world that represents the interior of the eye, can be described as an infinite pathway wherein the “observer” and the “seen” freely converge or intersect. According to Ochiai, he mentioned that “the eye, which continuously reflects light in the dark, is the midway point between seer and seen.”

Installation view from “Meadow Traveler, Madeleine Severin” | 2012 – Tomio Koyama Gallery, Kyoto, Japan ©︎Tam Ochiai

You may indulge your eyes and mind to the works of Tam Ochiai by visiting his exhibit Tapetum Lucidum at the Ginza Maison Hermès Le Forum (8F/9F, 5-4-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo), open daily until April 11, 2021 from 11:00am to 7:00pm (last entry at 6:30pm).

For more information regarding the exhibit, you may visit the Ginza Maison Hermès’ website: Hermes Japan

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