Robert Waters " MAN "(TOKYO)

14 July - 14 August 2010

Mizuma Action (NAKAMEGURO Space 5F) is delighted to announce the first solo exhibition in Asia of controversial Canadian artist Robert Waters.


Roberts Waters’ practice is a study of our ongoing evolution in post-industrial society, focusing on changing social structures to examine human domestication. His work explores biological imperatives and our desire to transcend them, concentrating on perceived divisions of body and mind, and concepts of control and freedom. Comprised of installations and drawing series, his projects investigate human nature through themes of male sexuality, violence and mortality. They are made using familiar materials that specifically reference their visual content, emphasizing connections between formal and conceptual considerations. In exploring personal and social themes his projects embody political motives in defence of difference towards equality. In presenting the human body as a site of political action Waters aims to provoke a questioning of self-knowledge and social control.


Waters’ provocative representation of masculinity and unusual choice of materials have been a defining feature of his work and earned him international recognition. His ongoing drawing series Clean up your act you dirty faggots, for example, portrays gay pornographic images made with bleach and iodine on paper. Over time, the iodine fades completely away, and the bleach corrodes through the paper. The images are taken from gay pornography from the 1970’s, before the onset of HIV/AIDS and are a ghostly memorial to sickness and loss, and an awkward collision of gay rights and the sterilization of sex. In this show, Waters is presenting drawings from 2003, 2005 and new ones painted specifically for this exhibition, to showcase the deterioration of the images over time.

His series of installations Man at Computer, presented before in various locations in Europe, North America and Mexico, investigates our growing intimacy with technology by bringing a private, common scene into the public realm. 


The series documents the physical relationships of men alone at night in the glow of their computers, alluding both to sexual exploration and erotic alienation. The series is executed with brown packing tape applied directly to the wall using labour-intensive cutting techniques to reveal the wall underneath.


A new series Killing San Sebastian is featuring a life-size drawing of San Sebastian that is “completed” in the gallery by being shot at with bows and arrows. The drawings is based on famous paintings and sculptures of the Christian martyr, executed on a traditional archery target. The large-scale drawing will be accompanied by small preparatory drawings, hung in a grid, which examines the male body and the expression of religious ecstasy associated with San Sebastian.


Curated by Shai Ohayon, the exhibition “MAN” will expose contradictory expressions of masculinity in contemporary society. In an attempt to understand the conflicted relationship between sexuality and violence, “MAN” will feature distinct projects in various media; installations (Man at Computer, Target That Won’t Feel A Thing), a video (Learning to Care/Learning Not to Care), a performance (Killing San Sebastian) and several drawing series (Clean Up Your Act You Dirty Faggots, Are You a Body or Do You Have a Body, and Jungle Gym).