Tomio Koyama Gallery is pleased to present “Strange Loop,” an exhibition of works by Satoshi Hirose. The exhibition marks the artist’s seventh solo presentation with the gallery.
Hirose will also present his large-scale solo exhibition “The Earth is Blue Like a Lemon” at Arts Maebashi from June 1 to July 26, featuring a diverse selection of approximately 100 works ranging from the early days of his artistic career up until his most recent endeavors, including his representative Lemon Project 03 (1997/2020) which consists of over 30,000 lemons covering an entire floor.
The exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery will be held concurrently to this essential retrospective of the artist’s practice.
【About Satoshi Hirose and His Works】
ーA world where multiple different identities exist and meetー
Satoshi Hirose (1963-) lives and works in Milan and Tokyo. Actively producing works since the 1990s when he commenced his artistic practice, he has participated in numerous exhibitions internationally, including those in museums and galleries across Japan, Asia, and Italy. In recent years he has also been involved in long-term projects that extend beyond existing art activities and consider interactions with society, such as his Sky Project (initiated in Maebashi in 2016, and anticipated to continue until 2035), in which he exchanges photographs of the sky with mothers and children of a single mother’s living support facility.
The concept of Hirose’s work, on a macro perspective, extends to encompass the entire earth, countries, seasons, and even to the universe. At the same time, Hirose discovers richness and diversity in the context of everyday Italian cuisine, while unearthing a common sense of happiness and meaning for life through the encounters and dialogues experienced over the course of his intercultural journeys. A major characteristic of Hirose’s work is to transfer such everydayness to an artistic level, while serving to present a strong influence on the viewer’s five senses.
While Hirose creates installations in which he covers entire floors with lemons or various spices to stimulate viewers’ sense of sight, smell, and taste, he is also known for his series of photographs that capture the sky, as well as his Blue Drawings that appear as if depicting an infinite proliferation of cells. In his Beans Cosmos series, various foodstuffs like beans and pasta, maps rolled up into balls, glass marbles, and flecks of gold are seen suspended in acrylic resin.
Art critic Noi Sawaragi critiques Hirose’s works as follows:
“ ‘Journey’ in this sense does not simply signify the physical travel or migration of the body, but also reflects the rearranging of the body scheme surrounding the senses. A variety of ‘smells’ have been employed in Hirose’s past projects as well, and they all indeed harbor the aspect of embarking on a journey around the five senses.” (1)
【About the Exhibition and Featured Works】
ーThe uncertain connection between things, their circulation, and surfaceー
In the exhibition presented in the gallery, individual works from those using gold and gold leaf, to sculptures of pillars, installations featuring real beans and wooden beans as well as curtains and plants, drawings on tracing paper, and ambiguous looking paintings –all appearing seemingly heterogeneous, are made to coexist in the exhibition space so as to loosely connect with one other.
Such as a sculpture of a cut concrete pillar with gold leaf applied along its section, and a work that features expensive gold grains, beans that are “at once a symbol of richness and poverty,” and a mixture of both real and wooden beans; things that are seemingly familiar are displayed in contrast when observed up close, instilling a sense of strange uncanniness in the viewer. When viewed from a distance however, all appear like equivalent objects no different from one another, like the myriad of stars that constitute the cosmos.
Hirose came to discover how richly complex worlds that often remain overlooked, in fact reside in the realms that exist between distinguished entities such as artificial and natural, day and night, as well as in the small things and those in the peripheries, thus serving to capture the profound contradictions and uncertainties that are indeed not apparent on the surface. Viewers are invited to experience the world of Hirose’s works from various viewpoints and angles while strolling through the exhibition space. The coexistence of heterogeneous objects, whose appearances change greatly through changing the perspective from which they are observed, indeed appears reminiscent of our society itself.
The exhibition title “Strange Loop” envisions a paradoxical world in which beginning and end are connected, and reflects an unspecific, elusive outlook that is neither defined as truth or fallacy.
【The Message of Hirose’s Work 】
ー”Everything is in the midst of a journey”ー
Art critic Dario Salani, describes Hirose’s works as follows:
“ (Hirose’s works) come up against various problems, propose inquisitions, doubts, and never give way to absolute truths. All are found in a geographical crossroads. A meditative journey from the real to the metaphysical; spiritual but also rationally present at the same time.” (2)
Fumihiko Sumitomo, Director of Arts Maebashi and Associate Professor of Tokyo University of the Arts, Graduate School of Global Arts, Department of Arts Studies and Curatorial Practices, critiques Hirose’s perspective as he writes:
“Hirose’s unfettered and resilient criticality of questioning what appears on the surface relativizes even the idea of putting humans at the center of the world. He leads us to a world in which humans and other living beings, adults and children, inorganic and organic and the like, are devoid of hierarchy and autonomy, and instead connect with one another through “mysteries” that are not apparent on the surface.” (3)
What could be described as being at the core of Hirose’s work is the uncertainty and ambiguity of all things. He enables viewers to experience through their senses, the shift in standards and the fragility of reality when familiar everyday things are transposed to another context. In doing so, he communicates to us that what exists in the world does not remain immutable in visible form, but instead will always continue to be in constant flux, further suggesting how they present scope for infinite possibilities through both our experiences and imagination.
The message that Hirose’s works communicate, perhaps present us with an important sense of awareness in our present times when the entire world faces an unpredictable future with conventional values crumbling to dust, as it finds itself engaging in a battle with an invisible enemy.
(1) Noi Sawaragi “Project A.P.O” Exhibition at Sagacho Exhibit Space,Tokyo, 1999
(2) Dario Salani “TRA-MITE” Exhibition at Hyperion Arte Contemporanea, Turin, 1998
(3) Fumihiko Sumitomo “Migration and Continuity -Satoshi Hirose’s Resilient Throughs For Coexistence”, ‘Hirose Satoshi’, truering, 2020