solo exhibition “Atelier in Peach and Rose Color, Magic”

©Tomoko Nagai

In Tomoko Nagai’s works, various motifs such as animals, young girls, colorful trees and mushrooms are scattered against backgrounds of forests or rooms that appear reminiscent of theater sets. All of her works harbor a unique spatiality in which a sense of liveliness as if having condensed the world of fantasy, complexly overlap with the layers of the image. Nagai employs various media such as a sculpture and installation as well as a painting within her practice. This results in diverse matiere and levels of intensity that become elements and rhythms that together constitute a single musical score. In sensing this music, we as viewers unwittingly find ourselves entering the narratives of her work. This exhibition that marks the artist’s fifth time  presentation at Tomio Koyama Gallery for the first one in three years, features works created since 2006 as well as a selection of her latest works. We invite viewers to venture into Nagai’s magical and dreamy world, conjured from her works that have been created in her cherished atelier.


The time I have spent in my Atelier is peach and rose colored, and is magic.

Matisse’s work “The Pink Studio,” is a work that I very much appreciate.

I have worked in several ateliers within the past 12 years and all have been precious places to me.

Presented are works that have been created as a culmination of many days,

including works I made a long time ago. Of course, there will be a latest works as well.

I’m nervous but excited.

–Tomoko Nagai


I have organized this exhibition in hopes to present an overview of Tomoko Nagai’s works created over the past 12 years up until now, as an artist who has been working energetically since holding her first solo exhibition in 2007. Although solo exhibitions are usually an occasion to present an artist’s latest works, the artists themselves are indeed developing and changing year by year. It is my desire to look upon the progressive course of such changes, and I also contemplate showing the works of other artists in this manner in future. I hope viewers will enjoy Nagai’s exhibition, which marks the first installment of this new style of presentation.  –Tomio Koyama


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Artist Profile

Tomoko Nagai

In Tomoko Nagai’s works, various motifs including animals such as bears, cats, and horses; young girls and imaginary figures; and trees and mushrooms are scattered against backgrounds of forest or rooms which look precisely as if they were theater sets. In all of her works there is a characteristic sense of fulfilment, as if expressing a condensed form of our world. Nagai does not draw before painting, and she uses different media depending on the subject: oil, acrylic, watercolor, color pencil, and pastel, as well as sculptures and installations. This results in various matiere and levels of intensity that seem to have become elements and rhythms, together constituting one music. Nagai’s works do not carry any specific narratives. By feeling this music, we somehow enter unawares into her world of stories.

Tomoko Nagai was born in Aichi Prefecture in 1982. She graduated from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music in 2006, majoring in Oil Painting. She currently lives and works in Toyohashi-city, Aichi. She has held four solo exhibitions with Tomio Koyama Gallery, and a solo exhibition at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. She has also participated in “VOCA 2010” at The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, as well as international exhibitions such as “Future Pass – From Asia to the World” Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia (Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, Venice, 2011), and other group exhibitions in Seoul, Grenoble, and Berlin. She also worked with a project in which she painted the walls of the swimming pool in a nursery school called Toyama nursery school (designed by Takahashi Ippei Office) located in Shichigahama town, Miyagi, one of the stricken areas caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The nursery building completed in 2013 was fully funded and supported by Singapore Red Cross. Her works have been included in public collections including The Takahashi Collection (Japan), The Olbricht Collection (Germany), The Zabludowicz Collection (UK) and The JAPIGOZZI Collection (US/ Switzerland).