Yuji Agematsu: About the work
ZIP: 07.01.21 ... 09.30.21
Mixed media in cigarette pack cellophane wrappers
Each approx. 21/2 x 2 1/8 x 1 in.
The ninety-two sculptures in this gallery collectively represent three months of daily, wandering walks by Yuji Agematsu around different parts of New York City, from July to September, 2021. The artist calls each piece a “zip,” the word inspired by both neighborhood zip codes and the Ziploc bags he used for many years before switching to the cellophane wrappers of cigarette packs. On each walk, his finds are placed into the carton he carries in his vest pocket and are eventually secured with resin in his studio.
The presentation of Agematsu’s work at the Clark is a departure from his usual wall-mounted acrylic shelves, arranged like a monthly calendar. Instead, the artist proposed a grid of twelve plinths built from stacked concrete cinderblocks, one row per month. This approach allows viewers to see each zip in the round and from above, as Agematsu does while collecting. The plinths’ arrangement, which suggests the grid plan of a city, also allows visitors to view the works in sequence or to meander stepwise between blocks. The choice of concrete nods to both the construction sites Agematsu frequents on his walks and the Tadao Ando-designed gallery in which this exhibition appears.
5 x 3 1/4 in.
Agematsu records his daily walks in a small, spiral-bound notebook. On the left-hand page, as he goes, he makes an annotated map of his route and the location of each find relative to local landmarks. At the end of each walk, the artist draws something akin to a concrete poem on the right-hand page: a dense block of English and Japanese lettering cohered by wandering lines that reflects on the conditions and dynamics of the day. Three of Agematsu’s notebook drawings have been enlarged on the gallery wall and translated in the accompanying gallery guide.