The first showing of the Japanese artist Erika Kobayashi in the UK. The exhibition explores her family history strangely intertwined with the discovery of uranium, radioactivation, invention of atomic bomb, and Sherlock Holmes.
Erika Kobayashi is a singular artist: she moves seamlessly to and from a wide range of media for her creation; manga, novels and visual art, always with strong messages to convey. The themes across her media of choice stay constant — things that are invisible, time, history, family, memory, and traces of places — but she treats the core concept with distinctive approaches for each medium in ways that can be only done with that particular medium. A natural story teller, in manga and novel the artist builds the case with layers and webs of relatable anecdotes, often conjuring up space and time, slowly drawing in the readers and makes the point. In visual art Kobayashi is more direct, almost confronting audience with bold images that lay out the issues in front of them and ask questions; it is all about the power of image.
Curated by Hikotaro Kanehira, the upcoming exhibition comprises photographies, short video, drawings and other materials that feature short stories. But again, it is the eclectic mix of media and unusual combination of photographic and video images, figurative drawings and verses, that construct Kobayashi’s unparalleled universe that is also a peculiar amalgam of what are loosely defined as ‘art’ and a wide scope of popular culture, which may be a mirror image of what we are in today’s world.
Erika Kobayashi “In My Hand— The Fire of Prometheus”, 2019 C-print 43.2cmx35.6cm © Erika Kobayashi, Courtesy Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Photo: Kasane Nogawa
Erika Kobayashi (b.1978, Tokyo)
lives and works in Tokyo.
Recent solo exhibitions: “1F in the Forest of Wild Birds” Yutaka Kikutake Gallery, Tokyo (2019), “Trinity” Karuizawa New Art Museum, Nagano (2017). Group exhibitions include: “Image Narratives: Literature in Japanese Contemporary Art” The National Art Center, Tokyo (2019), “Women Imagining Rooms: About the Diary of Lady Sarashina” Ichihara Lakeside Museum, Chiba (2019), “Roppongi Crossing 2016: My Body, Your Voice,” Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2016); “Living Locally –Reconsidering Critical Regionalism,” ARTS MAEBASHI (2015), “Your Dear Kitty, the book of Memories,” collaboration with The Future, Lloyd Hotel and JCC, Amsterdam (2015), and “The Radiants,” Bortolami Gallery, New York (2015). Residency with the Asian Cultural Council, NYC (2007-2008).
Nominated for the major literature awards including Mishima Yukio Award and Akutagawa Award both in 2014 for her novel “Breakfast with Madame Curie”. Other publications include: “Hikari no kodomo LUMINOUS (Children of Light: Luminous)” volume 1 and 2, (2013 and 2016) “Your Dear Kitty” (2011).
Kobayashi’s father is a psychiatrist and a Sherlockian, Tsukasa Kobayashi.
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