Artist Statement
Chika Matsuda

When we question the foundation of our existence, nothing is concrete, even our sense of self. My art practice has been an investigation into the relationship between the rational and the irrational. Perception and experience are influenced by language, cultural context and histories. We are not trained to see things without intellectual and social filters. In my work I am interested in the use of utilitarian objects. These objects do not function in my work as they do in our everyday lives. Rather, they evoke metaphorical associations between the object and the viewer. For example, two mirrors are put together face-to-face, with no space in between. An irrigation tube hangs from an ellipse-shaped black surface and drips black liquid onto the floor. By situating these objects in unexpected ways, they perform something other than their being functional as utilitarian objects. In one piece I imagine the dark space expanding between the two mirrors, and in the other, the hard material melts into liquid, spreading out into our space and devouring all matter. I use fictional scenarios as vehicles to approach and to examine the fundamental nature of our existence and to recognize a balance between the rational and the irrational. These fictions serve to amplify elemental precognitive experiences that often slip through between the layers of language and the rational mind.
Process Art, the artists influenced by Joseph Beuys in Europe and the Mono-ha movement in Japan are strong influences of my work. These artists explored the material itself and the relationship amongst materials to examine both the substance of the materials and their metaphorical implications which is ultimately our own existence. In addition to these historical references, there is a cultural influence in my work. While I was growing up in Japan, where Buddhism is imbedded in the culture itself, I absorbed its ideas. Even though I had not studied or practiced Buddhism until recently, its ideas were coming though in my earlier works. My most recent work is inspired by Buddhist meditation practice. One aspect of the practice is to touch fundamental nature, which requires that one leaves any judgmental thought behind in order to simply experience the world as it is. Our judgmental thought comes from our rational mind. However, absurdity and contradiction also stand within our rational mind. Meditation opens one to the place where logic and science do not apply. Therefore, it enables the mind to pause for a while in order to perceive in a way that is different from our ordinary pattern of thought. One becomes aware of this ordinary thinking pattern when one encounters the absurdity or the contradiction. Art objects can function as an intervention between one’s eye and experience beyond the objective world.