“I don’t like phenomenology.” About 10 years ago a curator told me. It was about the same time in other occasion when I heard a critic said “This is not phenomenological.”
I see. Phenomenology is not so welcomed in the art industry. I felt uncomfortable, because phenomenology was a starting point of my philosophy. With that in mind, I asked the reason why the curator disliked it. “It’s because phenomenology is ambiguous”. I recall the answer was like that. Why ambiguity makes them awkward? I did not go into details to ask for more reasons or confirm if such evaluation is common in the industry overall. However, I mentioned about this story because the artworks of Motonori Inagaki are very phenomenological, not because they are ambiguous. For example in phenomenology, we attempt to address ambiguous matters such as the transition of wind or light by every moment, atmospheres that cannot be captured visually or emotions and feelings. Or, “something” ambiguous that slip through such definition, “something” only can be experienced through ambiguity, and “something” that escapes into ambiguity as we look back.
“Something” that cannot be talked about without ambiguity is our most familiar daily life and in fact the most realistic experience. Phenomenology is a philosophical approach trying to grasp them. It’s not an approach if we call ambiguity just simply as “ambiguity”. We should rather not get into it if we attempt to replace ambiguity with different things. Phenomenology is alluring because of this sort of thrilling subtlety. I feel the same lure to Inagaki’s artworks.
And of course, I love Inagaki’s artworks for such reasons.

Takashi kurata (Philosopher)

もう10年近く前になるが、某学芸員からそういわれたことがあった。「これは現象学的ではない」。別の機会に、ある批評家が、そう作品解説するのを耳にしたのも、ちょうどそのころ。そうか、アート業界では、現象学ってウケないんだ。居心地の悪さ――というのは、現象学は僕の哲学の出発点でもあったから――を抱きつつ、件の学芸員に理由を尋ねてみた。「だって、現象学は曖昧だから」。たしか、そんな風な返答だった気がする。 どうして曖昧さがけむたがられるのか、それ以上つっこんで詳らかに聞いたわけではないし、はたしてそういう評価が業界全般に共有されているものなのかも、確認したわけではない。けれども、あえてこんな話をしたのは、稲垣元則の作品が、きわめて現象学的だからだ。曖昧だからではない。曖昧な事象を扱おうとするのが現象学だからである。

鞍田 崇 Takashi Kurata (哲学者)

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