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Words intrigue me.

Words are pivotal to how people and objects build relationships in this world. Words enable us to communicate with each other, and understand each other. Yet words can also cause us to clash, unable to achieve that understanding. As humans we are also slaves to the utter convenience of words. 


For a number of years now I’ve been using the word LOVE in works. It’s probably the most recognized word in the world. In Japanese it is ai.Many people place great weight on having love in their lives. According to Google the word love means 1) a great interest and pleasure in something, 2) an intense feeling of deep affection. Open a dictionary and you may be able to express this meaning concisely, but is the love sought by every individual really that same, standard word from the dictionary? Interrogating this forms the starting point for my work.This question could just as easily apply not only to the word “love” but to many other words we use so casually. We communicate with other people, including those of different genders, locations, and histories, amid words of standardized meaning. We are able to understand each other because we have words, but perhaps sometimes we are also separated by having words. If we are indeed enslaved by words, the question is, how to free ourselves? Employing different methods, I attempt to do so through my works. 


“NEON – Shape of your words”

I take people’s words and present those words as portraits.To paint portraits of those words, I use neon signs. This work emerged when it struck me that the structure of words and that of a neon sign are similar. Just as words always have a meaning, neon has electrical wiring and framing that support the glass tubing and enable it to give off light. One cannot function without the other: the glass tube being the “shape of the word” and the wiring and frame that exist behind it, the “meaning of the word.”I faithfully reproduce words handwritten at my request by people I know to make the neon motifs, then render these on canvas down to the finest detail, in an attempt to present to the viewer the shapes of people’s words as clearly unique entities in their own right.


“The first object”

This series depicts things encountered in everyday living that are made to be consumed then thrown away, such as an empty toilet roll, a fried chicken bone, and confectionery packaging. I place these discarded items on the table, direct light at them, and paint them, dismantling the raison d’etre assigned to each item to depict that item as an object just sitting there.



“Golden objects”

For this series I obtained gold-colored items from various sources, painted them on pieces of wood, and arranged them in a row. Gold—as both color and material—has been seen as valuable since ancient times. These days, whether it be genuine gold, or gold plate, there are many things in the world covered in a thin film of goldenness. In this work, by painting a few dozen gold-colored objects I actually acquired, giving them equal value as paintings through the material of paint, and displaying them in a totally non-hierarchical manner, I have nullified their value in words. 


In each of these series, I show objects liberated from words to simply exist. Taking roles and words we take for granted in contemporary society and reinterpreting conventional assignments of value, allowing the beauty of existing to emerge before the viewer’s eyes: these for me are the conditions for painting.





数年前から作品でLOVE という言葉を使用している。世界中の人々に最も知られている言葉だと思う。日本語訳では「愛」。多くの人々が人生において愛に重きを置いている。LOVE の意味は、1. 何かへの大きな関心と喜び。2. 深い愛情。(Google 調べ)であるようだ。辞書をひらけば、意味を簡潔に表すことができるが、人々がそれぞれに求めているLOVE は辞書で統一された言葉なのだろうか。私の制作は、この問いから出発している。これはLOVE という言葉のみではなく、私たちが何気なく使用している様々な言葉に当てはまる。私たちは意味が統一された言葉の中で他者とコミュニケーションをする。異なる性別、場所、歴史を持つ人々と。言葉があるから通じ合えるが、言葉があることで分断されることがあるのではないか。もし私たちが言葉に囚われているとしたら、どのように解放できるのか。私は作品を通して様々な方法でそれを試みている。


<NEON - Shape of your words->



<The first object>



<Golden objects>




I paint still lifes using as my motifs objects I come across in everyday life that are consumed or discarded. It is the fate of such consumable or disposable items to be thrown away. For these objects, this is something about which nothing can be done.


When I was in junior high school, I idolized a young American entertainer. I tried various things in an effort to become like her, such as wearing a blonde wig and applying lots of blue eye shadow. But the more I tried to resemble her the more depressed I became at the differences between us. For me, being Japanese was something about which nothing could be done.


The oil painting I chose as medium is also something that was introduced from theWest. Soon after it was introduced to Japan, artists such as Yuichi Takahashi were captivated by these paintings that had a depth akin to what is now called 3D and by the beautiful tactile properties of oil paints. I think I admired and tried to master Western painting in the same way that I admired that entertainer across the sea. In their artworks, I sense a conflict between my admiration for the West and reality.


Confronted with the insurmountable barrier that is the long history of painting in the West, what kinds of oil paintings can we as Japanese create? I think the answer lies not in staring up at that barrier, but in thinking how we can bring to life as works of art the things at our own feet about which nothing can be done. For me, this means returning to the starting point of Japanese oil painting and producing still lifes using as my motifs things I come across in everyday life. My motifs may be objects that are thrown away, but I depict them in their entirety without overlooking a single detail. Highlighting things that don’t usually play a leading role enables us to distance ourselves from predefined meanings and uses, changing the way we look at objects, living things and landscapes that are larger than ourselves. It means removing the barrier that is the fate of disposable things and giving expression to their inherent primordial presence.


At present, in addition to things that are thrown away, I am also working on a series of paintings of neon signs. Neon signs are not disposable objects, but in my paintings I focus on the wiring tubes and mounts at the back that are regarded as unsightly if they stand out. In each painting, I liken the light from the neon tubing to our ideals or aspirations and our inability to gloss over our hidden side. The unsightly aspects of our nature that we cannot varnish over appear on the surface together with our ideals and aspirations. And when they are exposed, the mounts and black tubes containing the wires that intersect behind the neon light become part of the structure underpinning the paintings, appearing on center stage on equal terms with the beauty of the neon light.


The world is filled with things about which nothing can be done. But perhaps those involved are simply staring up at insurmountable barriers or shackled by predefined values. Determined to free myself and things from these shackles, I try to express through my paintings not the values or beauty determined by others, but the primordial beauty and meaning of existence inherent in all things from the beginning.       


















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