Hiro Kunikawa “Reports on the Undefined”

untitled 2018 oil on canvas 162.0 × 97.0 cm ©Hiro Kunikawa

8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present “Reports on the Undefined”, a solo exhibition of works by Hiro Kunikawa. Kunikawa’s works depict peculiar figures and spaces, based on the distance the artist perceives between himself and reality within everyday life. Such works are an experiment that attempt to covey presences and spaces that cannot be expressed through mere words like “fun”, “hot”, or “cold”. Kunikawa states as follows: “when we usually see things, it’s actually rare to see them as they really are. I feel that a passage of time that is distinguished from the current always flows into the realm of our gaze, making it seem as if scenes of imagination overlap with the view before our eyes. This imagination approaches unwittingly, intimidating my sense of being here now. It is like a sense of being slightly afloat in reality, and is an uncanny moment that is a mix of lonesomeness and dreaminess. The imagination I speak of however does not emerge in the form of distinct images. Their presence is rather ambiguous in nature, and is that which cannot be grasped.” As the title Reports on the Undefined suggests, the series of work is a manifestation of the artist’s personal research of the unclear, uncertain, and unknown.
The exhibition features 17 works including paintings and drawings, and invites viewers to encounter Kunikawa’s unique world of exploring the unidentified from within the interstice between reality and imagination.

Artist Statement
When we usually see things, it’s actually rare to see them as they are. I feel that a passage of time that is distinguished from the current always flows into the realm of our gaze, making it seem as if scenes of imagination overlap with the view before our eyes. This imagination approaches unwittingly, intimidating my sense of being here now. It is like a sense of being slightly afloat in reality, and is an uncanny moment that is a mix of lonesomeness and dreaminess. The imagination I speak of however does not refer to distinct images. Their presence is rather ambiguous in nature, and is that which cannot be grasped. When I paint, I am perhaps trying to capture these presences. For that purpose, I usually reference human figures, the contours of landscapes, and moving images that I have imagined in the past as a means to capture them. In particular, “people” are vital in perceiving these presences, although I cannot quite describe why they are so important. I usually paint naked human figures, however they do not bring to mind terms like “body” or “Eros.” They also cannot be realistic, nor can they render notions of science fiction. That being said, there are clues more important than the figures that can be found in the distance I feel between the reality of everyday life and my very self. For instance, there is the lightness of my own existence that I sense when gazing upon the streets from my second floor window, or the gaps in the sense of reality that occurs when I unplug my earphones after using them for a long time. Such clues are rather sensual and do not lead me to the answer, yet by carefully exploring this manner of distance, I feel that I am able to arrive at the image I had always hoped to see. ー Hiro Kunikawa

Born in 1992 in Saitama, Japan. Kunikawa graduated from the Department of Painting, Musashino Art University, continuing his studies at the university’s Graduate School where he received an M.A. from the Fine Arts Course (Painting). He currently lives and works in Saitama, Japan. He has received The Tomio Koyama Award from Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2017. His major group exhibitions include, “Gray of gray by Miguel & Julian & Lauren” (Gallery NIW, Tokyo, 2015), “spring fever” (Komagome SOKO, Tokyo, 2017), and “Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2017” (Gyoko-dori Underground Gallery, Tokyo, 2017).