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Imura Art Gallery is pleased to present "Rabbit," a retrospective for artist Masaharu Sato.

Masaharu Sato was born in Oita, Japan in 1973. After obtaining an MFA from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1999, he moved to Germany in 2000, living and working in Düsseldorf for ten years. Following his return to Japan he exhibited prolifically, participating in many exhibitions around the world. Sato's continued potential was clear, but his life came to an end in March 2019 at the age of 45 after a long battle with cancer.

Sato's works establish a unique world view by using digital pen tools to trace over objects in photographs or video that he has taken of everyday scenes. The drawn elements feel slightly odd as a result of slight differences from the original lens-based images, which produces a sense of shifting between fact and fiction. The world captured by Sato's eye at first seems to be composed of everyday scenes with nothing special about them, but it offers new perceptions to viewers as they are drawn into the interstices between reality and fabrication.

As an opportunity to look back at and consider Sato's oeuvre, this exhibition presents two two-dimensional works and five video works produced in the last ten years.

Venue : The National Art Center, Tokyo, Special Exhibition Gallery
■Period : January 11 (Sat.) - February 16 (Sun.), 2020
■Artist : Masaharu Sato

Imura art gallery is pleased to announce "Hands and Visionamusement," an exhibition by Takashi Hinoda. Hinoda has worked with clay for about thirty years. During those three decades he has developed a dynamic freehand style, using distinctive colors and shapes, and established signature two-dimensional expressions that cover the whole surface of his ceramic forms. His exploration of the potential of ceramic art pivots around these elements. This exhibition marks the launch of shushikikeigaku, a term that Hinoda has invented as a key concept in the search for a new understanding of visual art, transcending the art/crafts framework. In English, it can be rendered as visionamusement, or as hands-on visionamusement. The materiality of a real physical presence, along with the material coloring that connects to it in a way that goes further than superficial existence, are vital to the artist's practice. In this presentation he takes these characteristics deeper, condensing them into the works that he exhibits. The result is an exciting exhibition in which Hinoda takes up the challenge of a new frontier.
Works by Hinoda will also be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu from December 21, 2019 to May 10, 2020 in the "Give Me a Name!" exhibition in the museum's Gallery II. This is an exhibition of works selected from the museum's collection, presenting highlights and new accessions as part of a project to commemorate the beginning of Japan's Reiwa Era.


Hands and Visionamusement *

My work has consistently involved three-dimensional art, created using ceramics. But although ceramics provide the fundamental base, I have always regarded my practice as one of the possible approaches to contemporary visual art. For me, ceramics are the most important characteristic because as a material they have the potential to persist over time as a semi-permanent relic. Another important characteristic comes from the production process, in that I use my hands to work the material, the substance that becomes the eventual work. This process is a form of manual labor, and no concept can fully replace it. My approach involves more than simple nostalgia for manual work; it also has the sensuality and sense of resistance that comes with an empathy between things and human senses, and the interaction that is accompanied by feedback. These are elements that are already being lost from contemporary lives--which are overly slanted toward convenience--but I am convinced that heading in the opposite direction and working with your hands has a more positive meaning.

I see my own work as being in a framework that is distinct from the modern-day art/crafts duality, and from the area of contemporary art that makes substantial use of texts and research, video and similar methods that are based on concepts. Feeling the need for a phrase to describe the sort of work I produce, I recently settled on the term 'visionamusement,' or 'hands-on visionamusement.' This solo exhibition has provided the opportunity to launch the term by incorporating it into the title. Looking back at the history of art and crafts in Japan, the terminology adopted for the frameworks that delineate the arts corresponded to Western concepts such as 'Art' and 'Kunst.' When these terms were applied to Japan's pre-existing aesthetics, areas such as shokogei (miscellaneous crafts) and calligraphy were left suspended, without a natural place in the frameworks. This is a well-known historical fact. Grounded in this situation, Hands-on Visionamusement is my attempt to gaze again at colors and shapes, assessing their value to me without going back to pre-modern circumstances.

Early in the 1970s, when Brazil was under military administration, and even music was censored, Milton Nascimento released an album entitled Milagre dos Peixes (Miracle of the Fishes), which avoided censorship by having virtually no comprehensible lyrics. That story left a deep impression on me. Apart from the political elements, I could see that it was evidence that he had understood the potential power that sounds intrinsically possess. Colors and shapes can surely also have similar effects. They were originally languages in their own right, and at times, they can give viewers a trembling catharsis, enough to greatly surpass verbal language.

When you look at the colors in video, they always seem to be missing something. I think it's because they are based on light. Light acts on the conscious mind, which provides a footing for concepts. In contrast, the colors of ceramics are revelations, incarnated as things. They have weight, shade, and they incorporate substances things like lye. And I believe that within them, they conceal triggers that induce us to reconsider our own physicality.
(* 'visionamusement' is a term coined by the artist)

                                            Takashi Hinoda

■Venue : Kyoto Takashimaya 6F Art gallery
■Period : November 13, 2019  - November 19, 2019
■Artist : Keikou Nishimura

Venue : Ginza Mitsukoshi 7F Gallery
■Period : October 23, 2019 - October 29, 2019
■Artist : Taro Yamamoto

Talk Session : October 26,2019
■A tea party : October 27,2019


Imura art gallery is pleased to announce "SHIN/EN," a solo exhibition by artist Jumpei Ueda, who explores the potential of Japanese yakimono ceramics in art through diverse forms of artistic expression.

Questioning the cultural and historical assumptions that inform conventional yakimono, as well as the concept, decoration, functionality, and uses of vessels (utsuwa), Ueda's perspective leads to the creation of art that focuses on how these are related to one another.

The artist won the Gotoh Cultural Award for best new talent in 2010, taking up a residency in Mexico the same year, arranged by the Gotoh Memorial Foundation (now The Tokyu Foundation). This exhibition consists mainly of works that Ueda included in a presentation of the fruits of his study in Mexico at Yokohama Civic Art Gallery in January 2019, with the support of the foundation.

Ueda explains that, during his research, contact with archaeological artifacts that demonstrated the climate, culture, and ancient civilizations of Mexico made him think about the changes that have taken place within the Japanese yakimono tradition that has taken form and been passed down over the centuries, and about the connections between civilization, technology, and art.

Noticing a quadrangle in the shape that was formed by the surface of water in his hands after scooping up some water, Ueda focused on the quadrilateral pattern as a way of grasping the links between human activity from primordial times to the present. He has since incorporated such patterns as elements in his art.

A major change that occurred after this residency was the addition of brick, tile, and fine ceramics*1 as materials in his art, in addition to the conventional ceramic materials he had used up to that point. He selected brick, the oldest architectural material in the world; fine ceramics, the latest technology in the history of yakimono; and tiles (Awaji tiles*2), which developed and continue to evolve under the influence of the Japanese climate. These materials brought their individual cultural backgrounds and physical properties to his work, providing textures and coloring that enable unique forms of artistic expression.

The exhibition space at imura art gallery, which has a characteristic brick floor, allows the viewer to notice the overlap between yakimono as art and yakimono functioning in modern life, as well as the overlap between the rich coloring of the art and the exhibition space.

Employing this diversity of yakimono, the exhibition attempts to provide a visualization of human activity--from the initial discovery of laws and principles to the present day--and of the relationship between activity, matter, and time, creating a coherent experience for viewers.


*1 Fine ceramics
Fine ceramics are part of the category of ceramics that includes glass and conventional ceramics such as porcelain and earthenware. They use highly refined materials and are manufactured to precise specifications to meet advanced performance and functionality requirements. Fine ceramics are widely used for components in automobiles, smartphones, and other products.

*2 Awaji tiles
One of the three main types of tiles in Japan, Awaji tiles are manufactured on Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture. They are made from high-quality clay unique to Awaji Island, and consist mainly of ibushi gawara (smoked tiles), which are smoked during manufacture so as to form a layer of carbon on their surface. They are known for their beautiful, fine-grained finish.

■Venue : switch point, Tokyo
■Period : August 1 - August 17, 2019

■Venue : University museum and art gallery, The University of Hong Kong
■Period : August 07, 2019  - October 27, 2019
■Artist : Keikou Nishimura, Kenichi Nagakura, Masaomi Raku

Venue : Toyama Prefectual Museum of Art and
■Period : August 10, 2019 - October 20, 2019
■Artist : Taro Yamamoto

Talk Session : September 21,2019

Venue : DAIMARU The sixth-floor art salon ESPACE KYOTO
■Period : July 31, 2019 - August 6, 2019 *Close at 5:00 pm, on the last day
■Artist : Taro Yamamoto

■Period : July 13 (Sat) - September 29 (Sun), 2019

■Period : July 20 (Sat) - October 9 (Wed), 2019

■Period : July 12- July 27, 2019

■Venue : Osaka Cultural Center・Tempozan(next to the Osaka Aquarium)
■Period : July 12, 2019  - September 23  *Open every day during the exhibition period.
■Artist : Masaharu Sato

■Venue:Hankyu Umeda Main Store, 9F Hankyu Umeda Gallery, Art Stage
■Artists:Aya Kawato, Yoshimi Miyamoto
*This exhibition will move to ART GALLERY MITSUBISHI ESTATE ARTIUM next.

Venue : Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery / France
■Period : May 9, 2019 - June 15, 2019
■Artist : Aya Kawato

Venue : Shinjuku Takashimaya 10F Art gallery
■Period : May 8, 2019 - May 20, 2019 *Close at 4:00 pm, on the last day
■Artist : Taro Yamamoto

Venue : Takuro Someya Contemporary Art
■Period : April 20, 2019 - May 25, 2019
■Artist : Aya Kawato

Venue : Nihombashi Takashimaya S.C. 6F Art Gallry
■Period : May 1, 2019 - May 20, 2019
■Artist : Etsuko Tashima
photo Ⓒ斎城卓

This winter, imura art gallery is pleased to announce "Static," the first solo exhibition by artist Yukari Momoda in four years.

Yukari Momoda received the head judge's award at Tokyo Wonder Wall in 2008 and the Nippon Broadcasting Award (outstanding performance award) at the 30th Ueno Royal Museum Grand Prize Exhibition in 2012. Around 2008, Momoda's art focused on representations of the human form, but by 2013 it had transformed into abstract landscapes. Momoda comments that, ultimately she aims to merge the human figure with landscape scenes in some form. The remains, included in this exhibition, provides a glimpse of the artist exploring this aim.


I have always been attracted to the way that time stands still in paintings. Since ancient times, paintings have acted as vessels for preserving the memory of past ages and the painter's perspective, and when confronted with one of these paintings, I feel as if I'm seeing time reflected back in condensed form.

Wanting to visualize 'time standing still' on the canvas in the form of a painting,
 I experimented by incorporating dynamic motifs into the static canvas as contrasting elements to make it more obvious that time is standing still in resulting painting. In my art, fluid paints and memories are dynamic images, while the canvas itself is a static motif. I interpret memories as dynamic entities because I believe that memories are a made-up, artificial world in which fragments of reality and preconceptions mix together, overlap, and are made to conform to our view of life over the passage of time, thereby forming the unique memories of each individual. In other words, I interpret things this way because I think that human memory is full of holes, like a strainer used to drain off water, and continually changing within our heads.

I attempt to visualize the fact that time stands still in paintings by painting it on my canvas. In so doing, I hope to pick up and recapture the time and intensity that has been unwittingly dropped by humankind, a creature that grows and evolves slowly but today lives in a society that prioritizes speed and efficiency.

                                                     Yukari Momoda

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