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Making molds using empty containers of detergents and cleaning products to create containers out of soap.




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(work by Masaru Iwai)

Masaru Iwai digs the dirt on cleanliness (BY JOHN L. TRAN)

SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN ( accessed 22.11.2017

Τhe notion and value of “cleanliness” are not to be taken at face value — they should be questioned and considered as socially constructed phenomena.

Two phrases come to mind seeing the inaugural exhibition at the new Takuro Someya Contemporary Art gallery in the Minami-Azabu district of Tokyo: “cleanliness is close to Godliness” and “you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.” The first phrase is appropriate because Iwai rejects the normative association of morality and hygiene, well aware that two of the most fastidiously clean countries in the world, Germany and Japan, have something of a history together. In the second case it’s because one of the video works on show literally reveals a dog turd decorated with glitter — but more on that later.

The main work, “100 Fish, or Before and After Epicure,” is a 14-minute video of 100 freshly caught fish being carefully laid out on a white sheet, gutted and then eaten off-screen, followed by the detritus of the meal being assembled and cleared away. Ambient sounds and foreign voices — the work was created in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in Eastern Europe — are both undecipherable but, somehow, instinctively recognizable for anyone who has shared a communal meal.


(work by Masaru Iwai)


(work by Nicolas Deshayes, Inhuman 2015, This is crub)

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(work by Terence Koh, Untitled, Dakis Ioannou collection)

The Lady Macbeth effect (from Wikipedia)

The supposed Lady Macbeth effect or Macbeth effect is a priming effect said to occur when response to a cleaning cue is increased after having been induced by a feeling of shame. The effect is named after the Lady Macbeth character in the Shakespeare play Macbeth; she imagined bloodstains on her hands after committing murder.


Work by Beili Liu, “Sky Bridge” from Needless Cleanup. (2013). [online]. Available at %5Baccessed 23.11.2017]

The pocket mirror work is from It made me think of the bacteria contained in beauty products transferred to the skin. Also a paraphrase of Magic Mirror, on the wall, who, now, is the fairest (cleanest) one of all? 

(cleaning public spaces/ Carrie Metteoli at St Petersburg/ first drawing on dirty surfaces and then removing the dirt using pressured water)

Next to godliness; Cleanliness (Article On “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History” By Katherine Ashenburg,The Economist. 385.8557 (Dec. 1, 2007): p99(US)):

“I WILL return in five days. Stop washing,” Napoleon famously wrote to Josephine de Beauharnais. Katherine Ashenburg offers many such details in her analysis of the changing attitudes to cleanliness in the West: the Greeks and Romans, who exercised naked and oiled and then scraped the dirt off; the early Christian saints who wore hair shirts to provide a cosy home for lice; aristocrats of the 16th and 17th centuries who were as dirty as commoners and thought that wearing linen would clean the body; the power showers and en-suite bathrooms of today.

Cleanliness symbolises purity. Like Pontius Pilate, we wash our hands of dirty deeds; Italy’s anti-Mafia drive was called “clean hands”

(photos from a google search on hands under florescent light)

“The storytellers have not realised that the Sleeping Beauty would have awaken covered in a thick layer of dust ….  dust constantly invade earthy inhabitants and uniformly define them” / Bataille in Dillon, B. (2009). A Dry Black Veil in Curiosity and Method: ten Years of the Art magazine, Issue No. 45 Fall, page 95

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Exif_JPEG_PICTURE,  accessed 22.11.2017

Exhibition: Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design


The fascinatingly creepy piece Death Duster, by Paul Hazelton is a three dimensional representation of a human skull, constructed completely from household dust and human hair. In the accompanying plaque, Hazelton provides us with some context for the work, describing the obsession with cleanliness that was pervasive in his childhood home. “Making art became an act of defiance, a subversion of cleanliness,” he explains. It seems fitting that Hazelton the thing he was taught to compulsively avoid as material for a sort of sculpture, in which the dust as well as the human form becomes immortalized.

In thinking about the fact that household dust is largely made up of dead skin cells, it seemed playfully ironic that dead pieces of a living human body were gathered and re-positioned into a depiction of a skeleton. Indeed, all dust and dirt contains decomposed elements of various living things. Many of the artists’ works in this exhibit seem to be riffing on the cycle of creation and destruction, by recreating the human form using the materials we often associate with the end of things. And in that way, this exhibit of contemporary art seems timeless, rooting itself in the eternal contemplation of life and death.


extract form Marder, M. (2016). Dust, London: Bloomsbury

“In a way, this activity (dusting) symbolizes our inability or our unwillingness to deal constructively with our selves, to accept their entanglements with finitude, death, and the others, archived in dust” (p.6)



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(work by Masaru Iwai) , accessed 23.11.2017

Cleaning and destruction can be seen as two basic principles within the duality of Apollonian and Dionysian, yin and yang. The key interest of this show is the transmission from one to another: from order to chaos, from serenity to uncontrolled passion. 

Works to be featured in this exhibition are looking for certain “in-betweenness”, for order that is reversed by a simple act, which disturbs the original cleanliness and opens a window into “the other world” of illogic behavior, obscurity, deviation or even madness.

new project: cleanliness – general research 1


Cleanliness/ historical perceptions on cleanliness

Ancient Egypt and Babylonia / they used just water and soap used out of ashes and oil

Ancient Rome/ rubbed body with oil and dust/ then add layer of perspiration / then scrape it off / then take a series of cold and hot bath / no soap involved

Early Christians / cleanliness was not closed to godliness /

For Europeans during plague/ taking a bath meant opening skin’s pores thus letting in the decease / bathing was introduced in 17th century / even then in France cleanliness meant how frequent they changed their linen shirt / believed linen pulled dirt as magnet

Modern society’s obsession with cleanliness is making us sicker / immune system is like a muscle needs to be in contact with bacteria so it can react against them


clockwise works by: Alexandro Duran, Masaru Iwai, P. Abrahams “Vanitas”