H65.4”-69.7” × W24” × D32.7”
H73.2”-85.8” × W24” × D32.7”
H87.4”-85” × W24” × D32.7”
H83.8”-67.7” × W24” × D32.7”
Acrylic and oil on wood, caster wheels

H1660-1770 × W610 × D830 mm
H1860-2180 × W610 × D830 mm
H2200-2160 × W610 × D830 mm
H2130-1720 × W610 × D830 mm

Anagram: a form of wordplay in which words or phrases are created by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase

e.g. Tokyo→ Kyoto

signature→ a true sign

Conceived from the utility of stage flats, “Anagram” consists of four abstract-shaped paintings on caster wheels. Much like its namesake, these panels can be reoriented in any order to create new images through their different placements. As the paintings intersect and overlap with one another, different colors and forms fluctuate between figuration and abstraction. Akin to the way writer W.G. Sebald compared the act of dreaming to a form of theater “in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter, and audience”, the four panels explore the fluid concept of memory in their interchangeable nature.

“Anagram” also challenges the finite objecthood of paintings in their ability to be moved or “activated” by the viewer. The height and width of each panel are set specifically by sizes that are liftable by the artist or at most, as large as a standard able-bodied adult body. The stage-like installation aims to create an “in-between” space that straddles the illusions on a theatrical stage while revealing its mechanisms like in its backstage area, as well as to blur the boundary between the viewer and the performer as anyone who participates can be a performer.

Additionally, in her seminal essay “An Anagram on Art, Form, and Film” (1946) avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren posited her creative approach to an anagram-like structure in which all elements such as form, aesthetic, and content were equally important and yet, interchangeable. Insisting against a narrow “horizontal” approach in cinema, Deren was referring to  a “vertical” or “poetic” approach that was concerned “not with what is occurring but with what it feels like or with what it means.”

Similar to Deren’s concept, the four paintings in “Anagram” exist simultaneously with infinite orientations. Against the idea of images as static entities, what remains consistent is their fluidity.

As part of Kyoto University of Art’s MFA thesis 2023

アナグラム: 言葉の綴り変え遊び


signature→ a true sign



また、前衛映画作家のマヤ・デレンは、代表的なエッセイ「芸術、形式、映画に関するアナグラム」(1946) の中で、形式、美学、内容といったすべての要素が等しく重要で、しかも交換可能であるというアナグラム的構造を自分の創造的アプローチとして提起している。デレンは、映画における狭い「水平」アプローチに反対し、「垂直」または「詩的」アプローチに言及した。「何が起こっているかではなく、それがどのように感じられるか、何を意味するか」に関心があった。



© Kei Ota