“Repeating Trace”

Thousand Years 2012 tempera and oil on canvas 180.5 x 260.0 cm ©Yuka Kashihara

Yuka Kashihara weaves her landscapes out of existing sceneries together with her inner imaginary space.
After graduating from Japanese painting course in Japan, Kashihara moved to Leipzig, Germany where she still lives and works. The city embraces many traces of the former East Germany and has led her to the thoughts of geographical and emotional distance between the place and her homeland. Her introspective explorations began to be expressed symbolically as nature motifs such as “mountain”, “cave”, “lake” and “forest”.
She creates richly nuanced atmosphere and harmony of colors by laying many thin layers of oil paint that is a combination of Japanese painting skill and oil painting technique that originates in West.
Mr. Shuji Takashina, the Director of Ohara Mueum of Art remarks on Kashihara’s work as follows: “She finds her own path to the original expressions carrying two worlds, Japan and Germany, East and West. This is reflected in her unique style of putting many layers of thin paint. Although her work is classified as oil painting, it does not have the glutinous feature of Western oil painting. At the same time, her promising talent gazing the land with eyes nourished by the two traditions gives us greater hopes.” (“Hon (Book)” November issue, Kodan-sha, 2012)


This is Kashihara’s third solo exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery. In her solo exhibition “Amid” at the gallery in 2011, she created a cave-like image by paraphrasing the process of “searching the deviated amid of myself” to the act of “digging a hole”. Later having experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake during her temporal stay, she began to feel the nature, her main motif differently. “When I went into the usual forest, I felt like I was protected. As a matter of fact, I may have been protected all these years by what I was trying to protect. When I realized it, there was a sense of vector facing outward instead of pointing at the inner side of me.” (Yuka Kashihara, 2013). The works conceived after those experiences were shown at her solo exhibition in 2012 “Transition”. The exhibition will feature 15 new works including 5 paintings that are over 2m. About this exhibition, she states,

There is a person I long to see. But I can’t.
So instead, I decided to go to Hokkaido, the person’s homeland.
Hokkaido somehow resembled Germany. Although it was my first visit to Hokkaido, the place was nostalgic. Nostalgic, yet unknown.
When I was strolling through the forest, the peculiar shaped plants of the northland invited me in.
This is how “Arrival” and “Sky Lake” in this exhibition were created.
(Yuka Kashihara, 2013)

The exhibition title, “Repeating Traces” suggests a quiet resolution of the artist, who is determined to reach out for the present landscapes and the time, which are the accumulation of traces from the remote ages, by repetitious act of painting and erasing. Kashihara’s landscapes presented in this exhibition embrace more depth.


Artist Profile

Yuka Kashihara

Yuka Kashihara uses oil paint applied in a thinly diffuse manner similar to that of Japanese nihonga painting, and by applying it in numerous layers she is able to create a unique depth of color. Within the world of her artworks, scenes from both reality and the spaces of the internal imagination are gently interwoven. Against this backdrop, having left Japan and moved to Germany where she continued developing her practice, Kashihara acquired an interest in the ‘distance’ between the internal and the external. This included the physical distance between Japan and Germany; and further, the distance herself as a Japanese person and herself while in Germany. This becomes expressed symbolically as an introspective speculation in the forms of the motifs of caves, holes, mountains and lakes which she repeatedly takes up within her work, and through this process of sublimation it is as though the original energies which lie dormant within the great Earth have become awakened.

Yuka Kashihara was born in 1980 in Hiroshima Prefecture. In 2006 she graduated from the Japanese Painting Department of Musashino Art University. In the same year she moved to Germany, and in 2013 she acquired a Diploma from the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. In 2015, she was named a Meisterschüler (Masters graduate) of the same academy, studying under Professor Annette Schröter. In 2008 she exhibited at the Bauhuas Dessau Foundation in Shakkei (“borrowed scenery”), a solo show curated by research scholar Torsten Blume of the same Foundation, and in 2012 she exhibited in VOCA, Tokyo, where she received both the Honourable Mention Award and the Ohara Museum of Art Award.

1980 Born in Hiroshima, Japan
2006 B.F.A in Japanese Painting, Musashino Art University, Tokyo
2012 Stayed in Germany under POLA Art Foundation Grants Program
2013 Completed Diploma in Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig, Germany
    A part-time lecturer of Musashino Art University, Department of Japanese Painting, Tokyo (-2017)
2015 Completed Meisterschüler in Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig, Germany (under Prof. Annette Schroeter)

Lives and works in Germany