Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present, “11•33 (one one •three three),” a solo exhibition of works by Kisho Mwkaiyama from July 27 to September 7, 2019. With an approach of regarding color itself as a material, Mwkaiyama in recent years has produced minimalist paintings conceived through overlaying various layers of color that are applied so as to infuse into the surface of the canvas. In the backdrop of Mwkaiyama’s practice is his experience of having spent his childhood in Mount Koya, recognized as one of Japan’s most prominent locations of esoteric Buddhist temples, where he found himself enticed by the tranquil environment of his surroundings and the Buddhist art that existed within it. The title of the exhibition “11•33” is also attributed to the Eleven-faced Kannon and the Thirty-three Kannon temples in western Japan. As articulated in the following statement, for Mwkaiyama, color is both synonymous with the soft light emitted by the Kannon (Bodhisattva of Compassion), and the evanescent light of the moon that embraces them.
The harmonious light of the moon that drifts across the thirty-three temples, with its waxing and waning, illuminates and casts shadows upon the eleven faces
It journeys through time, and journeys through the sky, dancing, glimmering, and enveloping you.
Mwkaiyama participated in the Artist in Residence program of MGM Resorts Art & Culture for half a year from the summer of 2018, and produced works in an open studio set up in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. From the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip lined with many restaurants and hotels that extend across a 7 kilometer stretch, to the light of the sun that illuminates the vast spread of nature situated away from the urban bustle, and the moonlight that quietly lies close to all and brightens the night’s sky –Mwkaiyama had found himself inspired by the times and spaces of light that while significantly different from one another, all shine with an overwhelming presence. Over the course of his residency in Las Vegas, he produced “Vendarta 100- Six Elements and the Seasons,” a major work consisting of 24 paintings, which is now permanently installed in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. This exhibition features a selection of new paintings and drawings that further draw from the considerations and approaches explored during Mwkaiyama’s residency in Las Vegas. Not only light, but also the various elements he encountered in Las Vegas, such as theater and live music stages are present in the background of these new works.