MECON by Shinro Ohtake is a very polarizing artwork. I loved the colours of MECON and thought it was a really psychedelic work. There was a lot that I didn’t like as well but when I ignored the things I didn’t like, I did like the artwork overall, even if it stood out like a sore thumb.
MECON is an evolving artwork, as mentioned on the Triennale’s official site. Shinro Ohtake took the time to evolve the artwork from the courtyard and add a few things all around. I found MECON to have developed into something better and I really liked the new parts of the exhibit.
When you enter the main entrance, you are overcome with neon green. This was the colour of choice for Mr. Ohtake and I felt that it really overloaded my senses. I checked in with the desk and proceeded to see the artwork that I had seen in the past. The outside was almost exactly the same, although I felt there were more neon colours than before. I would imagine that everything had a fresh coat of paint for this year, but everything I hated about this artwork was still there.
When you are about to enter the back courtyard, there is a tree stump in a pot. It is a tree stump that represents the islands of Ogijima and Megijima, but it is a bit sexual. The side facing the interior of the school looks like a woman with her legs crossed slightly, and the other side has a protrusion that looks like a man’s phallus. I was as unimpressed by it now as I was in the past.
The shed in the back was better than before and was more interesting now that I had time to inspect it. I really wanted to give MECON a better chance than I did 3 years ago when I had to rush through the artwork. While I was looking at the shed in the back, and also some of the other hidden things in the back courtyard, an old man came into the artwork and proceeded to act as curious and dumb as possible. He oohed and ahhed at everything really quickly and then proceeded to try to open the doors to the shed as hard as he could. Some people have no limiters on looking at things and I swear he was about to rip the handle off the door that would not open. He only tried once, but it was hard enough that I could hear the shed shake a little since it was pretty old. I was happy he tried it for me as I was curious about whether it would open or not, and he answered my question quite frankly.
There was also more art located inside and to the left of the main entrance, next to the stairwell to go upstairs. It was not very interesting but it was nice because it was air conditioned. The story of my journey in the summer session was that if there was air conditioning, the art must be good. 🙂 The actual artwork was interesting as Mr. Ohtake basically took a couple of old wooden boards and painted them. You can still see the original wood but it was also partially covered with spray paint. He then added some neon lights to them. I don’t know if I liked it because I was in a nicely air conditioned room or because it was good, but you can judge it for yourself.
MECON is an artwork that surprised me in how it has changed from 3 years ago. I look forward to seeing it grow even more, if Mr. Ohtake decides to continue to expand things. I hope he will expand to the second floor as it would make the artwork even better, although I’m of mixed feelings when it comes to his art.