Sweet Paradox



11 July – 10 August 2014

A Japanese group show curated by father and daughter, Mr. Mizuma and Ms. Yukari from YUKARI ART that hosts total of 22 artworks from 5 different artists.

Ranging from paintings to sculptures, artworks displayed are very animated in style. However, the topic each artwork raises a serious issues in society.

The exhibition features Japan’s leading contemporary artists OHATA Shintaro, ITO Enpei, YODOGAWA Technique, YOSHIDA Akira and WATANABE OSAMU.

OHATA Shintaro (b. 1975, Hiroshima, Japan) is known to create artworks that capture and display breathtaking, frozen scenes from everyday life that we normally take for granted. He uses different types of light in his work (strong light expressions) to dramatize the otherwise ordinary sceneries, which essentially gives a very unique touch. He has a very distinct style where in an artwork he would place sculptures in front of paintings, hence combining 2 and 3 dimensional worlds. The reason for this is because by doing so, he believes that he could bring a different “atmosphere of dynamism” to his artworks.

ITO Enpei (b.1976, Kasama, Ibaraki, Japan) graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music graduate school (MA) in 2002. He is always inspired by the great outdoors surrounding him. He has been creating paintings and sculptures with the same light textures in the form of humans and animals. However, he is now moving onto more non-figurative themes, as he states,“I don’t pursue only visible subjects. I feel that one of the very important elements for my further self-expression and my current aim is that by including various senses of vitality, my works will start to move and function just like living creatures”.

YODOGAWA TECHNIQUE is an art group founded by Hideaki Shibata and Kazuya Matsunaga in 2003. Based out of the river terraces of Yodogawa, Osaka, they use garbage that has drifted to the riverbank to create their artworks. Their creations involve making beautiful models and sculptures that completely does not resemble  its original form as garbage. They are renowned for making works in various places, interacting with locals and doing community projects (mainly community garbage clean ups, collecting material for their artwork whilst encouraging the community to keep the environment clean). Recently they have been working on a reconstruction support project for Wakabayashi area in Sendai, Miyagi that has been damaged by tsunami, by using affected windbreak forests there.

YOSHIDA Akira (b. 1976, Kanagawa, Japan) graduated from Tama Art University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 2002. He is renowned to make sculptures with fiberglass reinforced plastic that is painted over by airbrush. His airbrush skills are so impeccable, done with such great precision and detail, that it looks like the patterns has been printed onto the object. Visually, his works are very “cute” and follows pop aesthetics standards, however, ironically, the themes of his artworks revolve around problems of contemporary society. The significant contradiction of the appearance and the concept gives Yoshida’s works its unique and charming quality.

WATANABE Osamu (b. 1980) is one of Japan leading contemporary decorative artist. He first started decorating reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh and Pierre Auguste Renoir’s masterpieces using ‘fake cream’ made of modeling paste and wax.Watanabe, traces his fixation with all things sweet to his childhood. His mother was a confectionary school teacher, and from watching her, he images of sweets come naturally to him and so he uses it as the theme to his artworks. Watanabe believes in decorative art’s important quality and continues to create it. He started a revolution that has shifted the artscene from puzzling contemporary art to charming decorative art that can be enjoyed by everyone.Watanabe is a part of the kawaii art movement that is gaining popularity in Japan.

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