MASAHIKO KUWAHARA

heavenly peach

遺品 2017 acrylic on canvas 193.3 x 130.2 cm ©︎Masahiko Kuwahara

Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present “heavenly peach,” an exhibition with Masahiko Kuwahara. This marks the artist’s 12th solo presentation with the gallery, and introduces a selection of new works.

Since the latter half of the 1990s, Kuwahara has consistently created works that focus on the changes to the environment in which we live that have been brought about as a result of human desires.

From development, to efficiency, mass production, processing, cleaning, destruction and pollution associated with seeking commercial value, Kuwahara depicts the various changes that accompany his childhood memories of growing up during Japan’s period of economic prosperity in the 1960s and 70s. What is observed in his work are uncanny creatures, animals kept as pets, toys, landscapes, as well as the images of unknown girls and ready-built houses seen on newspaper flyers.

Seals that have appeared in the ocean contaminated by pollution, endure and survive in this new habitat, all the while enticing people with their adorable cuteness. Finding such creatures endearing is also indeed a reflection of human desire. This despairing yet paradise-like world that they convey is one of significant appeals of Kuwahara’s work.

Kuwahara mentions that in the title of the exhibition, “heavenly peach,” he envisions a subtle fragrance like an air freshener of sorts that remains after something has come to an end.

Although suggesting the irony and feelings of fleeting emptiness that permeates our contemporary age, Kuwahara’s works are by no means a blunt refusal of this. He light-heartedly captures thorough a kind and affectionate gaze, the humor within our world that we continue to overlook. How does such an artist view our current circumstances? The statement that the artist has written for the exhibition also reflects his outlook on the world as is depicted in his latest works.

We welcome viewers to enjoy the latest installment of the artist’s oeuvre.

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heavenly peach

This morning, I found that the surface, which by now had lost its shine, had peeled away.
Once again, I was reminded that it was a piece of laminated plywood.
The magic had reached the end of its service life, and I had turned 14 years old.

Rather than regarding it as being somewhat contrived,
this is what the world indeed is.
I am certain that once there were some beautiful wings upon my back.

Departing from uptown, the magic of happiness.
Bringing excitement and healing to the people of today who are tired and rushed off their feet.
Make your dreams come true, get the job, love, and money that you desire.
Expand your network of contacts.
I, who have gained great success, will teach you the laws of the world.

I am tired. The climate makes me uncomfortable too.
Beware of lack of sleep. Love, passive, a blessing
You’ll continue to dream of love and marriage. Communication is good.

In the rectum near the anus, there are many
receptors for capsaicin, so at times one’s bottom hurts.

To be at the top of this monkey mountain.
Honor, money, and you know, that.
Those in the middle tier who suck up to those at the top,
make a tier below themselves and maintain their position.

We will deliver in a minimum of two hours from when the order is placed.

When I was young I traveled and took various classes,
and really, I did anything.
But now, there’s nothing more that I want to do.
I simply wear this mask, and I question what it is that I’m living for.

I worked hard to obtain a national certification, and without relying on a husband,
I’ve managed to live on my own and be financially independent.
I cannot forgive women who impassively live their lives,
not having to pay any social insurance or extortionate taxes
just because their husbands are office workers.

What is “real value?”
To produce in masses, buy in masses, and throw away in masses.
People who struggle to be all too correct.
Legitimacy and nonconformity that only focuses on the benefits.

What is it that drives this sense of aversion?
I do not know.

I put Lina in my bag and go outside.

If I live long enough, will there come a day when I too can slowly
enjoy this world?

Still, I always give in to the words that overflow within our world,
which are hasty and stir up my emotions.

I find myself to be a heavy burden.

I once read in a book that in able to attain peace and freedom,
It’s important to make an effort and have a body that can endure this.
I, who pretend to be thinking about something,
Was finally going to be put to the test.

I strolled around the floor of a large electronics retail store.

Perhaps without me knowing, there are already things on sale,
like emotional adjustment appliances, or something of the sort,
at a price that is even affordable to me.

“Through the integration of advanced equipment and the body, it becomes possible
to transform your human view as well as the meaning and contents of reality.”

I really want something like this.
A device that allows me to not have to think about inconveniences.
It’s a story that’s like a dream come true.

Fairy heart charm.
Peach ribbon paletta.
Moon drop feather ring.

I went home and laid out the things that I’d bought.

They no longer appealed to me as they had done so on the sales floor,
and the assortment of objects seemed reminiscent of a vacant land.

I decided to tidy them away.
Perhaps there I could douse myself
in a quiet meaninglessness.

Persistent dirt.
Like a nasty monkey.
Troublesome garbage.
Goodbye, and farewell.

A child smiling in front of a white house reminiscent of a cake.
Is that me?

To tidy and stow away.

The streets are very beautiful.

Masahiko Kuwahara

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For press inquiries, please contact:
press@tomiokoyamagallery.com (Makiko Okado)
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Artist Profile

Masahiko Kuwahara

Masahiko Kuwahara started exhibiting his work in the 1980s. He has consistently expressed a sense of absurdity with regard to scenery and humanity being changed by modernization. Inorganic buildings and sceneries created by Japan’s economic prosperity during the 1960s and 70s, dolls and toys that were consumed and abandoned to anonymity, and uncanny creatures living by polluted water, are the primary scenery in which Kuwahara himself grew up. He depicts their sadness in light and humorous ways, assimilated with pale color tones and blurred outlines, suggesting our contemporary feelings of fleeting emptiness, dullness, and loneliness, yet also enabling us to sense a mysterious kind of happiness.

Born in Tokyo in 1959. He has held nine solo exhibitions with Tomio Koyama Gallery: “Abandoned Child” (1997), “View” (1999), “Life and Pus” (2001), “Land Development” (2005), “In the End of Summer” (2007), “Window” (2008), “Sweet and Desserts” (2010), “Only in Dream” (2012), and “Bright Days” (2015). He has also hold two solo exhibitions at Richard Heller Gallery in Santa Monica, the United States, in 2001 and 2008.

His major group exhibitions include “TOKYO POP” (Hiratsuka Museum of Art, Kanagawa, 1996), “The Japanese Experience – Inevitable” (Ursula Blickle Stiftung Foundation, Kraichtal, Germany, 2002; traveled to Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria in 2004), “POPjack: Warhol to Murakami” (Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, 2002), “Japan Pop” (Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, 2005), “Portrait Session” (NADiff, Tokyo / Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, 2007) and “Pathos and Small Narratives” (Gana Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 2011).

  • Emily 2019 acrylic on canvas 100.3 x 80.5 cm ©︎Masahiko Kuwahara
  • Sweet-ex 2019 acrylic on canvas 80.6 x 53.3 cm ©︎Masahiko Kuwahara
  • new products 2019 acrylic on canvas 18.4 x 18.2 cm ©︎Masahiko Kuwahara
  • new products 2019 acrylic on canvas 23.0. x 22.8 cm ©︎Masahiko Kuwahara