"Following my time both living in Berlin and taking residence at IMMA my impression of western society is that its population is more comfortable with expressing its sexual identity to the public than Japanese society. My idea was, if I install special benches, which are suitable for heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples in the public spaces of IMMA, I was curious as to how people would use these benches. This project is an experimental public project, which will develop depending on people's reactions."
Shiro Masuyama’s artistic process originated with his studies at architecture school. Masuyama is interested in involving the people he comes across in the city in his work. He puts his work in context by placing it in public spaces. Masuyama has developed tactics to encourage the involvement of the passerby. Through the use of motifs such as money, sex, office workers, mass media and cigarettes – these are popular and familiar to the public and act as lures to draw public attention. The constructed objects in his works are only preliminary to the completed project. The completion occurs when people interact with it. “I think my work is different from so-called “communication art” or conventional “interactive art”. These projects create a reverse of the standpoint of the viewer and the artist: the artist watches the viewer and the viewer is watched. What I am trying to do is to make the situation itself a medium”.
Shiro Masuyama lives and works in Berlin and Kanagawa, Japan. Masuyama has had solo exhibitions and performances at Stadtgalerie, Kiel 2006; ADN Galeria, Barcelona 2006; MAK, Vienna 2006; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin 2005; CAI Contemporary Art International, Hamburg 2005; Contemporary Art Factory, Tokyo 2002. Previous residencies include Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin 2004-05; Hangar, Barcelona 2003 and ISCP, New York 2002-2003. Shiro Masuyama was a resident at IMMA from September until November 2006.