From 11/01/2022 to 01/31/2023
Galería Karen Huber
México City, CDMX, México

How to Play in the Park presents a series of drawings carried out by Kanako Namura, based on material experimentation during the pandemic. Presented in Galería Karen Huber.


The title alludes to a poster that the artist found in a park in Osaka, Japan, a year before the health crisis began. Listed on it were the different rules that had to be followed in order to play in that space. This fact shocked the artist, who initially thought that regulating the game was an oxymoron. Isn’t complete freedom the ultimate condition for the possibility of fun? Kanako had lived in Mexico for seven years; upon returning to Japan, the society’s modus operandi for facing the pandemic led her to return to this park sign.


Namura’s reflections on play and its necessary conditions led her to the book Homo Ludens by the Dutch author Johan Huizinga, who in turn delved into reflections on the relationship between systematization and norms, taking into account free will and events beyond our control. Play then emerges in the existing tension between the two: in the liminal state between guidelines and their subversion, either by our own will or by the wills of external agents.


These reflections led to her own practice as an artist. Namura systematizes her painting in a logic that allows her to choose a type of paper, an ink color, and a sponge shape. This systematization forms the final idea of the drawing that—nevertheless, owing to the contingencies of the material—becomes yet another, different image. Thus, as in the Osaka Park poster, the systematization precedes the game, generating the activity’s condition of possibility. The type of paper, the ink components, the amount of water with which the pigment was dissolved, or even the pressure applied to the sponge, all generate uncontrollable variations. The final result condenses both ideas: the idea of rules of a game as well as the inevitable erosion of these rules in the very endeavor of acting. As in the game, the pictorial task becomes a set of rules that can be followed to a greater or lesser extent, finding its recreational character within this very tension.

This series of drawings is accompanied by three-dimensional pieces that the artist carried out, using materials collected from the streets of Mexico City. These sculptures provide the exhibition with a playful atmosphere, allowing us to imagine infinite possibilities based on the creative modification of our environment via games of association. These association games work by pre-registering a system that, when adding the factor of chance, generates multiple connections. How to Play in the Park is accompanied by one of those games, which we can use in guiding us through the exhibition. This game is conceived as a second gallery text that, in addition, acts as an epistemological element of entertainment.


How to play in the park. Solo exhibition by Kanako Namura.


Until January 31st, 2023.


Galería Karen Huber. Bucareli 120, México City, CDMX, México.