With the V22 gallery celebrating their inaugural exhibition at The Biscuit Factory, we speak to the Goldsmiths MFA graduate about her latest installation piece
Researching diagrams that communicate a method or attitude to a framework is fundamental to Maria Taniguchi. After growing up in the Philippines, Taniguchi studied at Goldsmiths before travelling to Romblon, an island rich in mineral resources. Metamorphosed limestone, otherwise known as marble became her material of choice. You won’t catch Taniguchi attempting to sculpt Greek athletes’ abs or biceps though.
At V22 we find four related drawings on plywood structures that reject direct representation. Optimizations of web search equations the installation questions the boundaries of objects in the context of the expo environment. Despite 50,000 square feet of exhibition space Taniguchi took into account an arrangement that appeared too clever from a distance could distract viewers from the work up close. Here Taniguchi recalls the memories, processes and innovations that transgress with her journey...
Dazed Digital: Why do you often reject tangible subject matter?
Maria Taniguchi: My work usually isn't about representations, at least not directly. It's not something super-conscious on my part. I want other things, like atmosphere or material, to come through more.
DD: ‘Untitled Mirrors’ recreates marbles surface characteristics. What does the material mean to you?
Maria Taniguchi: Some days I'm more interested in the possibility of marble as disembodied from its being stone or material, so that it exists in an abstract condition. It sounds esoteric but there is a psychic quality to marble that I think makes it so special. This might also be the reason for so many other people who use marble whether as material or surface in their own work.
DD: You’ve had a close relationship with the internet in your research process, ‘relying on the logic of the network.’ Is that to say you readily engage with the algorithms search engines use?
Maria Taniguchi: That was something I used to rely on a lot, using links in, for example, Wikipedia to lead me onto an equation for making a work. But it's also a lazy way to do things if you do it too much!
DD: do you worry about the so called ‘preference bubble’ where we’re guided to see what we want to see by search engines?
Maria Taniguchi: It's really creepy when the internet starts to think back at you. I prefer to ignore it but of course you always feel like you're being watched.
DD: Can you remember what you began searching for when you began this project and does your location affect the project?
Maria Taniguchi: I think I'm clearer about what I was looking for now, than when I first started the project. I usually back track a lot. My motivations are always a bit foggy and abstract at the very start of wanting to do work, even when I seem to have a clear plan of action. I guess in that sense I make my way through projects as learning situations. I think a lot of artists are like that. It's not like going in blindly and groping your way to some kind of outcome although that happens to me too, but it's more like your motivations become more articulated as you progress, maybe because you have more to work with or maybe because you've made connections that previously were not visible. In the case of Untitled ‘Dawn's Arms’, an installative video work that I showed early this year at Vargas Museum in Manila, I started with an intense interest or maybe a slight obsession with Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion.
This is one of those structures that is kind of like the centre for a particular universe, and is very much a concentrated space in terms of history. I wanted to take a part of it to make a new possibility out of, and so I decided to go to Romblon bringing with me a photograph of Kolbe's "Dawn" sculpture that is positioned in the small pool of the pavilion. I asked a local marble sculptor to remake just the arms from the photograph, and documented the process that was the start of making the work. I'm not sure how directly being in London half the time influenced the making of it, although in general I always think of being realistic about this situation of making work in between two cities.
Maria Taniguchi, Young London, V22, 10-16 Ashwin Street, London, until July 30, 2011