Smile with your eyes
Jari Genser
2014, 2020
Artist Statement
Smile with your eyes is a project about visual language. It deals with the signs telling us what to do (and what not to do) in everyday life. In 2014 I had the privilege to go to Tokyo for the exhibition ‘Touch Wood’ at the ACF. The work I presented was a woodcut called But The Flesh Is Weak that combined my (European) graphic style with Japanese letters (Kanji) in the traditional Mokuhanga technique. During my stay I encountered that daily life in the metropolis was regulated by a multitude of signs. Even though I did not always understand them I was interested in their aesthetics. In 2020, during the so-called corona-crisis I recognized the number of such signs in Austria increased, so I tried to imagine how visual warnings would look like in Japan. Smiling with your eyes contrasts the ‘real’ signs from 2014 to these imagined signs.
BEFORE I went to Japan in 2014 I was already fascinated by Japanese culture and artistic traditions, which I tried to process in the print But The Flesh Is Weak that was exhibited at the ACF at the exhibition ‘Touch Wood’. THEN (in 2014) I was overwhelmed by the multitude of signs that can be seen everywhere in Tokyo. I documented them even though I did not always understand them. NOW in the so-called corona-crisis the number of graphic guides and warnings in Austria has increased, which has led me to ask myself: How is it in Japan?
Artist Bio
Jari Genser was born in 1983 in Salzburg, Austria. He studied Psychology and Spanish at the University of Vienna and Fine Arts with a focus on graphics and printmaking at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. 2018 Winner of the Art Albina Art Prize, 2018 Artist Residency in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2020 Artist Residency at St. Virgil. Since 2012 exhibitions in Austria, Germany, Georgia, Indonesia, and Japan. Jari Genser lives and works as a visual artist in Vienna.