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Yoshitaka Nanjo solo exhibition  2/5-2/28

Yoshitaka Nanjo solo exhibition 2/5-2/28

We are pleased to announce Yoshitaka Nanjo's solo exhibition: Native Landscape.

To see more Yoshitaka Nanjo's works and her profile please kindly click here.

Hopen (old fisherman's hut)
2015
455 × 530 mm
panel, soil, cotton, acrylic etc

Date: 2016. Feb. 5 (Fri) - Feb. 28 (Sun)
Hours: 11:00 - 19:00 (closed on Mondays)
Venue  Art Front Gallery (Daikanyama, Tokyo)
Reception  Feb. 5 (Fri) 18:00-20:00
*During the exhibition, the artist will be at the gallery on weekends afternoon. 

Yoshitaka Nanjo was born in 1977 and completed his studies at the Graduate School of Fine Art and Design, Tokyo Zokei University in 2002, specialising in painting. Since then he has been active as an artist based in Tokyo. After participation in the residency program by Kannonji City, Kochi Japan, his work has come to be exhibited both domestically and internationally, including at the Nakanojo Biennale, and the Water and Land Niigata Art Festival. At the 2012 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale he created and displayed paintings on both canvas and window panes using soil for the Mogura no Yakata, Soil Museum.

Nanjo’s landscape paintings are unique in combining parts rendered in paint with parts rendered in soil. The artist visits the locations, taking photographs of the landscapes he likes, and collecting their local soil. He analyses these before making his work of art. The decision on what elements to be drawn and where the canvas should be left blank is made by digital breakdown. Selection of pictorial elements is defined by criteria such as brightness, colour and boundaries of motifs. How this is formed into a tableau depends on a subtle balance of what will be left blank, what rendered in paint, and what covered in local soil. The artist states that soil is a ‘particle’, whereas painted area is ‘space in two dimensions’. He also says that the soil used in his works represents, for him, the place itself.

In this exhibition, Nanjo will show a new installation on a theme he has repeatedly engaged with, namely Mt Fuji. The work focuses on a now-removed Fujizuka (manmade Fuji-shaped hill for worship) once located near the Gallery and featured in Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Mt Fuji has been widely painted by many famous artists such as by Hokusai in his Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji, and Tomioka Tessai in his Mt Fuji. At the same time, Fuji is a popular motif for the walls of public bath houses. Nanjo pays special attention to the diverse ways in which images of Mt Fuji are generated and accepted, and develops this as a main theme in his work. Since ancient times, Mt Fuji has also been the subject of mountain worship, while climbing it in the Edo Period became a popular tourist activity, like Ise pilgrimages. Members of a popular Fuji cult, called Fuji-ko, created Fujizuka around Edo to represent the peak for those not able to get to it themselves. Many mountains in Japan thought to resemble Fuji became known as ‘local Fujis’ (oraga-Fuji). Nowadays numerous images of Mt Fuji circulate on the internet and YouTube, captured by smartphones or even drones. This indicates how technological evolution continues to encourage us to make impressions of this symbolic mountain. The many visions of Fuji generate a certain kind of reality, and the flow of making, accepting and consuming these, at least since the late Edo Period, Nanjo believes, forms the collective idea of landscape among Japanese people. Nanjo’s approach to the depiction of Fuji is akin to studying culture and representation. He discourages viewers from regarding his landscapes as conclusions, but rather encourages them to open up a connection to the place depicted. Another section of the Exhibition will show new work created during Nanjo’s stay in Norway last summer, where he was invited as an Artist in Residence. We hope you will enjoy those landscapes too, captured and developed by contact with places of a different climate and culture from Japan.

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