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Thermometers take center stage in art exhibition

Thermometers take center stage in art exhibition

A man stood just inside the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei on May 16 this year, shaking hands with visitors. What made them curious was that while shaking hands, in his other hand was a thermometer, which he would mark after the handshake.
"When one person is holding a thermometer, it shows the mixed temperature of the environment and the person. When shaking hands with another person, it shows the unique temperature of two people in that environment, " or so stated Japanese artist Shigeru Moroizumi when explaining his concept of using thermometers as the main medium for an exhibition of his work slated for July 23-Sept. 5 at the MOCA.
The exhibition will feature installation art, video and performance art, and the installations will include over 1,100 thermometers of various sizes and designs, while the video portion will show two recordings of Moroizumi's outdoor works, one of which was recorded in Taiwan.
The performance art section is a new addition to the 56-year-old artist's exhibition and is the first time he has included the concept, although he attempted it last year during an exhibition in Beijing.
"However, the weather was too cold there -- below freezing -- and I only shook hands with 20 people," he said.
He also discovered that the thermometers he bought in China were actually made in Taiwan.
"I am planning to show the result of the temperatures for about 278 local people that I greeted," he said.
"It is not only shaking hands or measuring temperatures; what is more important is that people can communicate through this behavior," he said, adding that it also helps him to learn more about the city he is visiting.
Looking more closely at the artist's thermometers, people will notice that they are uncalibrated. "I just want to show the warm relationship between human beings by virtue of that red liquid climbing up and down inside of the glass tubes," he said.
In the early stages of his career as a sculptor, Moroizumi used bronze, iron, plaster and many other materials to create his art. At that time, thermometers were only one component, and it was not until an incident that occurred nearly 20 years ago that he discovered the beauty of the instrument.
"A row of thermometers on my table caught my eye one day, and I thought they were like a beautiful sculpture, " he told CNA. That was the turning point for him and ever since, the instrument has occupied the principal role in his exhibitions.
Over the years, Moroizumi has created and designed thermometers in various different shapes and colors, which have changed people's impressions of the instrument. He has also become an expert in thermometers and the various materials which can be used in their manufacture that greatly influence the results of his work.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to view the painting-like works that are formed by the results of high and low temperatures shown on the thermometers according to the environment or the heat generated by the viewers in the space.
"I am attracted by the function of these indicators that let us visualize changes in temperature, " Moroizumi said, revealing that because of his work, he has collected almost 50,000 thermometers.
"I will never get tired of these indicators. Actually, I feel it is the thermometers themselves that lead me to create these works, " he said.
By Sunnie Chen CNA staff reporter/J




Updated : 2021-06-23 04:11 GMT+08:00