Masahiko Kuwahara

  • 商業施設 / Shopping mall, 2012 ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • candy box. 2009 acrylic on canvas, 162.0 x 162.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • 貝 shell, 2009 acrylic on canvas, 33.3 x 24.2cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Honey White, 2008 acrylic on canvas, 162.0 x 162.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • princess room, 2009 acrylic on canvas, 100.0 x 65.2 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Candy Box, 2008 Resin, clay, shell, flower and etc, 37.0 x 25.0 x 25.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Candy Box, 2008 Resin-clay, pearl, hair, pearl, flower etc, 50.0 x 30.0 x 22.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • 窓, 2008 acrylic on canvas, 18.0 x 18.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • 部屋, 2008 oil pastel on paper, 32.0 x 41.0 cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Depuration - Hamashigi-Yatsu, 2005 oil on canvas, 116.7 x 91.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Depuration- Institution, 2005 oil on canvas, 116.7 x 91.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • New Town, 2005 oil on canvas, 33.3 x 33.3cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • installation view from Land Development at Tomio Koyama Gallery, 2005 ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Bitter Sea, 2004 acrylic on paper, 134.0 x 101.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Acrylamid, 2002 oil on canvas, 100.0 x 80.3cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • VACANT LOT, 2001 oil on canvas, 112.0 x 145.5cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • その後 After That, 2000 oil on canvas, 45.5 x 65.3cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Dots, 2000 acrylic on canvas, 91.0 x 116.7, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • BEACH, 1999 acrylic on canvas, 218.5x304.5cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • installation view from view at Tomio Koyama Gallery, 1999 ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • FLOWER, 1998 clay, wax and hair, 24.0 x 21.0 x 15.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Vinyl Maria (bottom), 1994 oil on canvas, 65.2 x 53.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Vinyl Maria (top), 1995 oil on canvas, 24.5 x 33.5cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Vinyl Maria (bottom), 1994 oil on canvas, 41.0 x 31.8cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Vinyl Dream (rabbit), 1995 oil on canvas, 24.5 x 33.5cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Cornea (artificial world), 1996 oil on paper, 60.7 x 72.8cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Clean Meat, 1996 oil on canvas, 130.3 x 162.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Room, 2000 acrylic on canvas, 45.5 x 53.0cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Power Transmission Line, 1999 acrlic on canvas, 45.5 x 53.2cm, ©Masahiko Kuwahara

Kuwahara was born in 1959 in Tokyo, and started presenting his works in the 1980s. His works embrace the distortion and darkness of Japan’s high economic growth period, when he was raised. Motifs such as a pig with half of its body turned to ham, glittering imported crude copy products and strange waterside creatures contaminated by factory sewage are depicted repeatedly with smooth flat brushstrokes. It seemed precisely as if his works were evoking awareness of social problems, revealing the guilty conscience or shame of postwar Japanese society. Since the mid-90s, however, Kuwahara’s work has moved away from such social discourses, and his gaze started focusing on more private and internal aspects. Motifs of flowers, jellyfish, or dolls float in a milky-white plane, where specific temperature, languid warmness are drifting. When he started depicting nameless girls who are consumed on magazines and advertisements, sticky weights seen in his work was replaced by lightness. In his recent bright works, a feeling of desolation is accompanied by idiosyncratic happiness.

Since his first solo exhibition “Abandoned Child” in 1997, Masahiko Kuwahara has held eight exhibitions – “View”, “Life and Pus”, “Land Development”, “In the End of Summer”, “Window”, “Sweet and Desserts” and “Only in Dreams” at Tomio Koyama Gallery. Other major exhibitions include “TOKYO POP” (1996, Hiratsuka Museum of Art), “The Japanese Experience – Inevitable” (2002, Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal, traveled to Museum der Moderne, Salzburg), “POPjack: Warhol to Murakami” (2002, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver), “Japan Pop” (2005, Helsinki City Art Museum), and “Portrait Session” (2007, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art).

Solo exhibitions

2017 Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo (upcoming)
2015 "Bright Days" 8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2012 "Drawings; Hana to Yume" GALLERY ZERO, Osaka
"Only in Dreams" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2011 GALLERY ZERO, Osaka
2010 "Sweet and Desserts" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2008 Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, USA
"Window" Tomio Koyama Gallery Kyoto
2007 "In the End of Summer" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2005 "Land Development” Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2004 Galerie 20.21, Essen, Germany
2003 "Animals" TKGY at lammfromm, Tokyo
2001 Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, USA
"Trim" Galleria Micia, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan
"Life and Pus" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2000 "Beautiful Dream" Canvas International Art, Amsterdam
"Blue Sky" Gallery Zero, Osaka
"Beach" Gallery Koto, Okayama, Japan
1999 "View" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
1998 "Rainbow Color" Gallery Zero, Osaka
1997 "Abandoned Child" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
"Shadeless Beach" Gallery Zero, Osaka
1996 "Forgive and Forget" Gallery Zero, Osaka
1995 "Vinyl Dream" AKI-EX Gallery, Tokyo
1990 Tamura Gallery, Tokyo
1984 Tamura Gallery, Tokyo

Group exhibitions

2015 "Yuka Kashihara, Hideaki Kawashima, Makiko Kudo, Toru Kuwakubo, Masahiko Kuwahara, Atsushi Fukui" 8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2014 "Group exhibition by Tomio Koyama Gallery" TOLOT/heuristic SHINONOME, Tokyo
2013 "Cho-Kyoto 2013, Contemporary Art @Today's Machiya in Kyoto" Today's Machiya in Kyoto, Model House Exhibition Place KYOMO, Kyoto
2012 "Masahiko Kuwahara, Yoshitomo Nara, Hiroshi Sugito" Tomio Koyama Gallery Singapore
2011 "Temporary Exhibition: Art in an Office" Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan
"Happy Mind - my view" MISAKO & ROSEN, Tokyo
"Pathos and Small Narratives" Gana Art Center, Seoul
2008 Hakodate Museum of Art, Hokkaido, Japan(Jul 20 - Sep 23)
2007 "MIXED SIGNALS" Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York
"Portrait Session" NADiff, Tokyo/ Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan
"magical museum tour" Tokyo Wonder Site, Hongo, Tokyo
"Summer Show" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2006 "a magical art life" Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya, Tokyo
"10th Anniversary" Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
2005 "Japan Pop" Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki
2004 "The Japanese Experience -Inevitable" Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria
"The Secret Forest of Princess Knight" M.Y.Art Prospects, New York
2003 "Japan Rising" Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, FL, USA
2002 "Emotional Site" Shokuryo Building -Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo
"The Japanese Experience -Inevitable" Ursula Blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal, Germany
"POPjack: Warhol to Murakami" Museum of Contemporay Art, Denver, CO, USA
2001 "Playground" Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon
2000 "Drawn From Life" Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
"Yume no Ato" Haus am Waldsee, Berlin/ Staati Kunsthalle Barden-Barden, Germany
"Landscape My Ass" Vedanta Gallery, Chicago
1999 "Sampling" Ronald Feldman Fine Art, New York
"Soap" Gallery Zero, Osaka
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco
1996 "Love Song" Gallery Zero, Osaka
"TOKYO POP" Hiratsuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan
1993 Maki-Tamura Gallery, Tokyo
1991 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo
Gallery Sarge, Tokyo
1983 Gallery Parergon, Tokyo

Public collections

Flowerman Collection
Olbricht Collection
Toyota Art Collection


"The Japanese Experience: Inevitable"
Takashi Murakami, Kaikai Kiki, Aya Takano, Masahiko Kuwahara, Yoshitomo Nara, Hiroshi Sugito, Shintaro Miyake, Jun Hasegawa / editor: Margrit Brehm / Hatje Cantz 2003