Yutaka Kikutake Gallery is pleased to present “GRAVITY POINT,” an exhibition featuring the works of Yuya Hashizume from June 26 to July 24, 2021. The exhibition marks the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery.
Yuya Hashizume was born in 1983 in the Okayama Prefecture, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. In recent years, he has been attracting attention for his series of works, "eye water," which depicts the moment when a single tear falls from the eyes of his subjects whom are painted against a single-color background using illustrative techniques reminiscent of Japanese anime. This exhibition showcases the artist’s first attempt at three-dimensional works, as well as a selection of acrylic paintings.
Hashizume had expressed a fondness for painting and making things since his childhood, and after graduating from specialized training college, came to develop knowledge and understanding of branding and product-related issues through working for an outdoor brand. In addition, having self-taught himself in skills of illustration and design, he also was involved in advertising design and the production of in-store promotional materials while working in the brand’s PR department. Thereafter he left this job with aspirations of creating his own work, one again engaging in autodidactic acts of study and trial-and-error in an effort to further develop his artistic practice. He eventually began presenting his work in independently organized exhibitions, while gradually producing commissioned illustrations for culture magazines among other publications as a freelance illustrator.
His activities up to that point had made the artist painfully aware of the absence of originality in the context of a highly complete artificial system, which was a significant characteristic permeating contemporary society by the 1980s when Hashizume himself was born. Ideas pertaining to respective events as well as the uniqueness of specific things are shared in various ways in the blink of an eye no sooner than they are announced, thus becoming a social trend, however the importance of the ‘original’ that exists in the backdrop often remains unmentioned. The system of information disclosure and exchanged over the past 10 years centering on SNS platforms, could indeed be regarded as a catalyst for generating new environments day by day while strengthening such tendencies.
Under these circumstances, Hashizume began producing works that were thoroughly fictitious and underlined by anonymity so as to conversely take advantage of this absence of originality. In his first exhibition held in 2016, he presented an installation work consisting of humorous images and illustrations based on a fictitious story of discovering a new species of plant that does not actually exist. At the same time, he came to present works featuring renditions of people and animals that draw reference to the depictions of Japanese manga artist duo Fujiko F. Fujio, such as the character Doraemon whom Hashizume had familiarized himself with and been attracted to since his childhood for his signature rounded form. These series of works were initially made using silkscreen, and had been created based on the idea of exploring means of producing the creations of Fujiko F. Fujio that are renowned as prime examples of fiction. Later, he gradually started to incorporate the use of acrylic paint in continuing to develop these works, also increasingly introducing elements unique to himself in terms of depiction, including the symbolic teary eye and the ways in which the details are illustrated. What can be observed in this endeavor is a new aspect within the context of fiction, that is, the artist’s effort to interweave the experience of gaps and discrepancies that arise between it and the original.
The latest works in this exhibition feature motifs of people and animals that are depicted through animation-like drawing methods. However, unlike the artist’s previous works created in a manner reminiscent of still images on quadrangular support mediums, the addition of dynamic elements instills an air of humor, seemingly encouraging viewers to imagine the scenes that took place before and after that which is depicted. Yuta Hashizume’s new works, while presenting iconography that brings to mind a certain sense of nostalgia, charmingly catabolizes clichés through elements of detail. The three-dimensional works featured in this exhibition have been produced as a joint project with QUEL, and a series of limited edition multiple works will also be released.