Yuken Teruya

Earn a lot of Money, No Need Send Any Letter, Send Money Home First

February 18 – April 3, 2010


The gallery is pleased to present an exhibition featuring a video installation, new sculptures, and photographs by Yuken Teruya, continuing the artist's poetic investigation into the meaning of nationality and the fluid boundaries between cultures and objects.

The 5 channel video installation Earn A Lot of Money; No Need Send Any Letter; Send Money Home First, is a maze of overturned cardboard moving boxes, some containing video projections, some housing projectors and speakers. As one navigates this Hooverville, the videos document the journey of small paper boats, fitted with Japanese, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and American flags, as they travel along the gutter of a street in Brooklyn’s low-rent melting pot of Bushwick. The title of the piece references a common early 20th century colloquial farewell at the Okinawa docks as ships carried family members away to South America in search of a better life. One box shows a team of firemen opening a fire hydrant to flood the street, a neighborhood substitute for air-conditioning. Another shows a kid picking one of the paper boats out of the water. Others follow the boats as they navigate the current, swerving around litter and bumping into each other as they make their way towards their inevitable decent into the gaping sewer below. Interspersed with the cinéma vérité of the street scene, Teruya has added slow pans of ocean views seemingly taken on a trans-pacific journey, (possibly the artist’s own?) from Japan to America. At the very moment the narrative could become quite literal, it is picked up and washed off in a new direction.

In Dawn, The artist looks for the ultimate places in a man made environment where a chrysalis, originally from his home island of Okinawa, could find a safe setting for the most crucial period in its cycle, the one preceding the birth of a butterfly. One of the spots is the sole of a luxury high heel shoe, which looses its function to become an architectural safe heaven for the vulnerable creature. A set of eight photographs documents the various stages of the transmutation process from the golden vessel hanging underneath the shoe, to the striped butterfly emerging upside down. In a group of sculptures, the same filigreed chrysalises hang delicately off the upturned barrel of a pistol, or underneath the blades of kitchen knifes planted into the wall, the possibility of death lying dormant, just like the unborn insect cocooned underneath the objects.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Yuken Teruya received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2001. He work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Selected exhibitions include: Atomic Sunshine at The Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, Japan(2009); Wall Rockets: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha, curated by Lisa Dennison at The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2009); Making a Home at The Japan Society, New York (2008); Second Lives at The Museum of Arts & Design, New York (2008); Wall Rockets, Curated by Lisa Dennison at The FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2008); Free Fish at the Asia Society, New York (2007); Thermocline of Art - New Asian Waves at ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany (2007); Attention to Detail at The FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2007); The Shapes of Space at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2007); Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens, NY (2005); Yokohama International Triennial, Yokohama, Japan (2005); and Fuchu Biennale at the Fuchu Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2004). His work is included collections such as: FLAG Art Foundation, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Daiichi Seimei Museum, Tokyo; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Saatchi Collection, London; Sakima Art Museum, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum.