Yesterday was the opening of a new show at Mizuma Gallery at Gillman Barracks, and Mr Mizuma was there to welcome us to his second group show at Gillman Barracks. The exhibition presents a selection of contemporary artists from Japan and Asia. Highlights of this show were Zheng Jang and Ai Yamaguchi, as well as my sneak preview into the back room
where Mr Mizuma very kindly introduced me to artwork by Aida Makoto, a key artist from Japan whose distinctive style featuring bizarre contrasts and scathing critique has earned him a sizeable following among people of all ages.
Japanese artist Ai Yamaguchi depicts alter egos in the shape of young girls, and during her whole career as an artist has been striving to ‘paint beautiful things’ – the artist’s ultimate wish. Through her work, we feel a sense of curiosity, a childlike wish and a sense of naive amazement. Due to viewing the same picture from many angles, her work has also made a study of ‘flatness’, regarded as a particular characteristic feature of traditional Japanese art, with trends in Japanese subculture. I noticed a pleasing continuity between the tessellating shapes, where the blue stream in each image flowed directly into the painting on the next panel. I also noticed a key green eye peering out at me from all her works, like the artist’s signature icon in the show.
“Japanese artist Ai Yamaguchi depicts alter egos in the shape of young girls, and during her whole career as an artist has been striving to ‘paint beautiful things’”
The captivating painting below by Zheng Jiang from Beijing is also made of multiples. Each individual shape looking like a traditional pattern or tile, all full of detail, but all adding up to make a whole. A reclining figure emerges when you take a step back. The artist’s work is a creation in pursuit of spiritual comfort, Mizuma tells me. Troubled by insomnia, Zheng slowly focused on inner needs instead of surrounding objects. The repeated ‘begonia’ pattern is Zheng’s working way of measuring time every day while keeping him calm when facing society.
Zheng Jang, Detail
Toru Ishii, ‘Going to work Battle II’, Yuzen dyeing on silk
Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, film
Look East 2!
Mizuma Gallery, GIllman Barracks
22 Feb – 22 March 2013